Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Media, Art, and Text

First Advisor

Timothy E. Bajkiewicz, Ph.D

Second Advisor

Eric Garberson, Ph.D

Third Advisor

John Kneebone, Ph.D

Fourth Advisor

Elizabeth S. Hodges, Ph.D

Fifth Advisor

Yousif Al Failakawi, Ph.D


This study attempts to compose an account of television history in Kuwait, one that focuses on its integration into society and is told from the audience's perspective and experience. This study represents a cultural alternative to the overwhelmingly national, institutional, and biographical focus that accompanies television history works in Kuwait and the Arab world.

The narrative is gathered and generated through the individual oral stories of 25 Kuwaitis over the age of 50, who generally represent the six geographical districts of Kuwait. Through their oral stories, the narrators examine the different areas in which television has integrated itself into society from 1957 to 1990. These include television’s succession to cinema, television’s novelty, television’s familiarization into society, television’s domestication, television’s interaction with modernity, and television’s content.

The oral stories of the narrators regarding each area reveal a wide range of microscopic topics about living in early Kuwait and television’s integration with it, including the people’s initial “miraculous” conception of the device, television’s relation with Kuwaiti urban growth, and the early economical gap of television ownership in Kuwait.

Besides the general exploration, discussing the research areas indicates a somewhat linear narrative of television’s integration into culture, where television was preceded by the cinema technology that had semiotically paved the way for the device, before an abrupt novelty period in which television was settling in an ever-changing Kuwait, followed by a familiarity period in which the device had lost its gimmicky association, interrelated with all the other sociocultural factors of society, and spatially corresponded with both the extinct and the surviving components of the Kuwaiti house. Kuwaiti television had also corresponded with the social, economical, and urban alterations of Kuwaiti modernity, with its content nostalgically reflecting different stages of Kuwaiti cultural life. In the end, an overarching theme could be found in the “foreshortening” of television’s integration journey into Kuwaiti culture, with the narrators using television to express their yearning to the values of yesteryear.

Future studies suggest more focus on contextuality, qualitative data, and interdisciplinarity in television history.


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