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Young people's interpretations of Dutch soap operas and police series: a multicultural audience research
Unformatted Document Text:  Young people’s interpretations of Dutch soap operas and police series: a multicultural audience research 3 Yet by watching these programmes, white Dutch youths cross a cultural border too. Most characters in Dutch soaps and police series are white, but ethnic minority characters appear as well. In all Dutch soaps non-white characters feature and in some cases they are connected with ethnic storylines. In Dutch police series, the multicultural backdrop of the cities Amsterdam and Rotterdam is visible (see Buxton, 1990) and often ethnic minorities play roles in the storylines (De Bruin, 2002). These genres thus give white young people opportunities to form an image of ethnic minorities and Dutch multicultural society. As yet, little is known about how Dutch soaps and police series are received by young people in the Netherlands, let alone the role that ethnicity plays in this process. There seems to be a general lack of interest within Dutch communication science in studying popular culture (Van Zoonen, 1999). Beyond Dutch borders this interest has indeed been present. Especially in the British cultural studies tradition, numerous studies have been conducted on the meaning and the reception of soap operas. Some of them even focus on ethnicity and/or young people. Literature An important insight from the cultural studies literature seems that in interpreting a television programme, cultural negotiations and processes of identity formation are taking place. Liebes and Katz (1990) analysed cultural negotiation for various ethnic groups after viewing an episode of the American soap Dallas. Most of these groups live in Israel: Arabs, Moroccans, Russians and so-called kibbutzniks (which are people living on a kibbutz). Interviews with Dallas viewers were also conducted in the United Sates and in Japan. Liebes and Katz’s conclusion is that each ethnic group evaluates the program in their own manner, by offsetting their knowledge and culture against the stories and characters in Dallas.

Authors: de Bruin, Joost.
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Young people’s interpretations of Dutch soap operas and police series: a multicultural audience research
3
Yet by watching these programmes, white Dutch youths cross a cultural border too.
Most characters in Dutch soaps and police series are white, but ethnic minority characters
appear as well. In all Dutch soaps non-white characters feature and in some cases they are
connected with ethnic storylines. In Dutch police series, the multicultural backdrop of the
cities Amsterdam and Rotterdam is visible (see Buxton, 1990) and often ethnic minorities
play roles in the storylines (De Bruin, 2002). These genres thus give white young people
opportunities to form an image of ethnic minorities and Dutch multicultural society.
As yet, little is known about how Dutch soaps and police series are received by young people
in the Netherlands, let alone the role that ethnicity plays in this process. There seems to be a
general lack of interest within Dutch communication science in studying popular culture (Van
Zoonen, 1999). Beyond Dutch borders this interest has indeed been present. Especially in the
British cultural studies tradition, numerous studies have been conducted on the meaning and
the reception of soap operas. Some of them even focus on ethnicity and/or young people.
Literature
An important insight from the cultural studies literature seems that in interpreting a television
programme, cultural negotiations and processes of identity formation are taking place. Liebes
and Katz (1990) analysed cultural negotiation for various ethnic groups after viewing an
episode of the American soap Dallas. Most of these groups live in Israel: Arabs, Moroccans,
Russians and so-called kibbutzniks (which are people living on a kibbutz). Interviews with
Dallas viewers were also conducted in the United Sates and in Japan. Liebes and Katz’s
conclusion is that each ethnic group evaluates the program in their own manner, by offsetting
their knowledge and culture against the stories and characters in Dallas.


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