In this article, we discuss how primetime programming is unjustly the subject of the moral panic constructed around television, a moral panic that seems primarily useful to maintain the high vs low culture dichotomy. To assess the moral content of primetime television, we used a framework derived from literary culture, since narratives’ content and morality (or, rather, [moral] imagination) are primarily discussed within this tradition. We will argue that primetime television (news, soap operas, sitcoms, and so on) is not only rife with reflections on what counts as a moral issue, who we are, who the ‘other’ is and various ways of deliberating moral issues, but also that the content of primetime programming contradicts the arguments used in the moral panic surrounding primetime television.

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Keywords genre ● morality ● narrative analysis
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Journal International Journal of Cultural Studies
Krijnen, A.F.M, & Costera Meijer, I. (2005). The Moral Imagination in Prime Time Television. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 8(3), 353–374. Retrieved from