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Chapter 2 is the first of three chapters that pivot around imaginative geographies, focusing on how people’s engagements with lifestyle television involve imagining place at a range of scales, from the perceived relation between regional localities and national metropolises to the relation between identification with a national homeland versus the alluring vision of limitless global mobility. Chapter 2 examines the complex, multiscalar nature of Chinese television through a discussion of metropolitan and regional lifestyle-television industries, with a focus on two channels: Shanghai TV and Bengbu TV. Studies of Chinese television often betray an urban, technological, and class bias, ignoring formations of local media cultures below the scale of the province. This chapter addresses this analytical and methodological gap in conceptualizing Chinese mediascapes, discussing a range of geographic imaginaries, and in the process exploring the relations between lifestyle formats, structures of taste and perceived needs, and place.

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