The Vision of a Nation tells the stories behind television's approaches to race relations, multiculturalism and immigration in the 'Golden Age' of British television. Focusing on the 1960s and 1970s, it argues that the makers of television frequently tried hard to shape multiculturalism and undermine racist extremism, believing that the media had a responsibility to mould the nation's vision of itself. Looking at popular fiction, non-fiction and programmes for minorities, Schaffer probes the impact of genre on television's approaches to race relations and multiculturalism, arguing that different conventions, restrictions and aims ensured radically different impacts.
At its core, The Vision of a Nation considers the politics, principles and prejudices behind television's interventions on multiculturalism, and probes the outputs of programmes on British audiences as well as the relationship between the makers of television and British politicians, activists and the public. Ultimately, the book argues that television's approach to race relations was highly influential and has done much to shape the evolution and self-images of multicultural Britain.