Contextualising diversity in TV drama: Policies, practices and discourses

Alexander Dhoest


This paper discusses the representation of social minority groups in Flemish TV drama. After a brief review of academic literature on the topic, three questions are asked. First, 'How should diversity be represented?', discussing broadcasting policies on diversity as well as the opinions of minority groups. Second, 'How is diversity actually represented?' Beside quantitative data, this analysis includes a qualitative assessment of six recent TV drama productions on Flemish television. Third, 'Why is diversity represented this way' Here, production practices and discourses are analysed, using in-depth interviews with production staff in order to better understand their reasons and motivations. The findings show that diversity is addressed by public broadcasting policies, but that minority groups are unhappy about their portrayal. Indeed, quantitative research shows that they are generally under-represented, while qualitative research discloses a lack of diversity in these portrayals. Based on the interviews with producers, these representational patterns can be connected to a number of practical and dramatic considerations, which however do not excuse the lack of on screen diversity.


diversity; representation; minority groups; policies; production research

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2421-454X/5902


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