Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Mass Communications

Advisor(s)

Anne Osborne

Second Advisor

Carol Liebler

Keywords

personality, representation, stereotype, symbolic annhilation, teen sitcom, the extrovert ideal

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

In 2012, Susan Cain published a nonfiction book: Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, in which she claimed that the modern western society was dominated by the Extrovert Ideal and it led to “a colossal waste of talent, energy, and happiness” (Cain, 2012, p.12). The concept of Extrovert Idea, according to her, is the “omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha and comfortable in the spotlight” (Cain, 2012, p.4). Other psychologists and cultural historians also mentioned this cultural ideal, stating that it changed how people teach, how people work, how people interact with each other, and how people perceive themselves. Cain noticed a change in the characters portrayed in teen sitcoms: they are not the “children next door” of the 1980s; instead, they are rock stars and celebrities with extremely extroverted personalities. Inspired by Cain’s observation, the researcher chose Disney and Nickelodeon to explore how the teen sitcoms produced by “the big two” reflect the Extrovert Ideal. Textual analysis of four popular teen sitcoms in the past ten years was conducted. Representation of both extroverted characters and introverted characters and the power relation between the two were analyzed.

Access

Open Access

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