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Media Franchising


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Provides a nuanced portrait of the collaborative cultural production embedded in both the media industries and our own daily lives

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction: An Industrial Way of Life 1. Imagining the Franchise: Structures, Social Relations, and Cultural Work 2. From Ownership to Partnership: The Institutionalization of Franchise Relations 3. Sharing Worlds: Difference, Deference, and the Creative Context of Franchising 4. "A Complicated Genesis": Transnational Production and Transgenerational Marketing 5. Occupying Industries: The Collaborative Labor of Enfranchised Consumers Conclusion: Future Exchanges and Iterations Notes Index About the Author

About the Author

Derek Johnson is Assistant Professor of Media and Cultural Studies in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of Media Franchising: Creative License and Collaboration in the Culture Industries and the co-editor of A Companion to Media Authorship.


"Johnson astutely reveals that franchises are not Borg-like assimilation machines, but, rather, complicated ecosystems within which creative workers strive to create compelling 'shared worlds.' This finely researched, breakthrough book is a must-read for anyone seeking a sophisticated understanding of the contemporary media industry." Heather Hendershot, author of What's Fair on the Air?: Cold War Right-Wing Broadcasting and the Public Interest "Media Franchising demonstrates that political economy and cultural studies can be systematically integrated, something many have called for but few have achieved as impressively as Derek Johnson. Building on an ideal mix of industrial, cultural, textual, and ethnographic research, Johnson pushes back against the popular view of franchises as monstrous, self-replicating programming bullies to show how contested and complex the industrial cultures are that now produce them. In this scheme, franchises are not the predictable top-down economic outcome of conglomeration, but rather a collective cultural "solution" to volatile economic and technological changes negotiated by cadres of largely anonymous contract media producers. Essential reading for anyone hoping to better understand the churning contemporary mediascape." John T. Caldwell, author of Production Culture: Industrial Reflexivity and Critical Practice in Film and Television

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