A Voice In The Room: The Evolution of Economic and Aesthetic Legitimacies for Daytime Soap Operas in the United States, 1930-2009 Open Access

Scardaville, Melissa (2011)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/79407z033?locale=en
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Abstract


A Voice In The Room:
The Evolution of Economic and Aesthetic Legitimacies
for Daytime Soap Operas in the United States, 1930-2009
Abstract: While soap operas have obtained economic legitimacy by being widely seen as
acceptable commercial products, they have not achieved such widespread aesthetic
legitimacy because they are generally not seen as works of art. This dissertation explores
the factors that promoted the economic legitimacy of the soap opera in the United States
and the factors that enabled and constrained the diffusion of a legitimating ideology for
the genre. It finds that, after their innovation in 1930, daytime soap operas quickly
became a viable way to conduct business in the media industry in the United States in
part because they were reliable sources of income during the Great Depression. The
foundings of soap operas follow patterns similar to other organizations as outlined by
population ecologists. Density and density squared are significant, but the effects of
density become more pronounced once policy changes are taken into account. The
dissertation also finds that a nascent aesthetic legitimating ideology - "emotional
authenticity" - appeared in the New York Times as early as 1934 and as late as 1995, but it
never coalesced into a unified discourse. The dissertation concludes with the argument
that the failure of an aesthetic legitimacy to take hold for daytime soap operas paved the
way for their current economic decline.

Table of Contents



Table of Contents
I. Chapter 1: Introduction 2

II. Chapter 2: Literature Review and Historical Overview

of U.S Daytime Soap Operas 7

III. Chapter 3: The Evolution of Economic Legitimacy for
U.S. Daytime Soap Operas 37

IV. Chapter 4: Aesthetic Legitimacy and Daytime
U.S. Soap Operas 75

V. Chapter 5: Conclusion 121

VI. Appendix: Tables and Figures 128

a. Table 1: Descriptive Statistics of Radio and Television
Soap Operas 128

b. Table 2: Total Number of Broadcasted U.S. Daytime
Soap Operas 129

c. Table 3: Number of Broadcast Minutes Allotted to
Daytime Soap Operas, 1930-2009 129

d. Table 4: Scheduled Time Slots for Radio and Television
Soap Operas 129

e. Table 5: Negative Binomial and Poisson Regression
Estimates for the Number of Foundings per Year of
American Daytime Soap Operas, 1930-2009 130

f. Table 6: Poisson Regression Estimates for Number of
Foundings per Year of American Daytime
Soap Operas, 1930-2009 131

g. Table 7: Correlation Matrix for Independent Variables,
Radio and Television 132

h. Table 8: Distribution of Categories of Times Articles 133

i. Table 9: Inclusion Criteria for Sample 133

j. Figure 1: Phrase "Soap Opera" in New York Times
Articles, 1930-2009 134

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