Lisa. Cultures in Orbit: Satellites and the Televisual.
Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005. Paperback. 256 pages.
ISBN 0-8223-3497-6. $22.95
by Lamees M. El Baghdady
in Orbit is a critical paradigm of both television and
cultural studies. Unlike previous research, which has focused
mainly on direct satellite broadcasting and global entertainment,
Parks analyzes the military, scientific and cultural uses of
satellite "with a specific goal in mind: to rethink, complicate,
and extend critical definitions of the televisual.” The
book also integrates feminist criticism, science and technology
studies, and cultural geography.
that “satellite television” is a site for "technological
convergence” that integrates several technologies, such
as remote sensing, live international transmission, and astronomical
observation. Parks analyzes these activities and argues that
they have affected the meaning of "the
global” and the “televisual,” influencing
culture as satellite television convergence resulted in the
rise of audiovisual formats, which in turn led to new forms
of satellite content.
Cultures in Orbit, Park argues that “satellite
television is a technology of knowledge” and stresses
that the televisual should not be limited to public service
broadcasting or commercial uses, but should focus on producing
and circulating knowledge through public education, commercial
entertainment, military monitoring, and scientific observation.
in Orbit introduces a new perspective on the culture of
the satellite. This book would benefit those interested in media
studies, cultural studies, technology studies, visual studies
and globalization studies.