International in scope and more comprehensive than existing collections, A Companion to Reality Television presents a complete guide to the study of reality, factual and nonfiction television entertainment, encompassing a wide range of formats and incorporating cutting-edge work in critical, social and political theory. Original in bringing cutting-edge work in critical, social and political theory into the conversation about reality TV Consolidates the latest, broadest range of scholarship on the politics of reality television and its vexed relationship to culture, society, identity, democracy, and “ordinary people” in the media Includes primetime reality entertainment as well as precursors such as daytime talk shows in the scope of discussion Contributions from a list of international, leading scholars in this field
Notes on Contributors ix Introduction 1Laurie Ouellette Part One Producing Reality: Industry, Labor, and Marketing 9 1 Mapping Commercialization in Reality Television 11June Deery 2 Reality Television and the Political Economy of Amateurism 29Andrew Ross 3 When Everyone Has Their Own Reality Show 40Mark Andrejevic 4 Cast-aways: The Plights and Pleasures of Reality Casting and Production Studies 57Vicki Mayer 5 Program Format Franchising in the Age of Reality Television 74Albert Moran Part Two Television Realities: History, Genre, and Realism 95 6 Realism and Reality Formats 97Jonathan Bignell 7 Reality TV Experiences: Audiences, Fact, and Fiction 116Annette Hill 8 From Participatory Video to Reality Television 134Daniel Marcus 9 Manufacturing “Massness”: Aesthetic Form and Industry Practice in the Reality Television Contest 155Hollis Griffin 10 God, Capitalism, and the Family Dog 171Eileen R. Meehan Part Three Dilemmas of Visibility: Identity and Difference 189 11 The Bachelorette’s Postfeminist Therapy: Transforming Women for Love 191Rachel E. Dubrofsky 12 Fractured Feminism: Articulations of Feminism, Sex, and Class by Reality TV Viewers 208Andrea L. Press 13 “It’s Been a While Since I’ve Seen, Like, Straight People”: Queer Visibility in the Age of Postnetwork Reality Television 227Joshua Gamson 14 The Wild Bunch: Men, Labor, and Reality Television 247Gareth Palmer 15 The Conundrum of Race and Reality Television 264Catherine R. Squires 16 Tan TV: Reality Television’s Postracial Delusion 283Hunter Hargraves Part Four Empowerment or Exploitation? Ordinary People and Reality Television 307 17 Reality Television and the Demotic Turn 309Graeme Turner 18 DI(t)Y, Reality-Style: The Cultural Work of Ordinary Celebrity 324Laura Grindstaff 19 Reality Television’s Construction of Ordinary People: Class-Based and Nonelitist Articulations of Ordinary People and Their Discursive Affordances 345Nico Carpentier Part Five Subjects of Reality: Making/Selling Selves and Lifestyles 367 20 Mapping the Makeover Maze: The Contours and Contradictions of Makeover Television 369Brenda Weber 21 House Hunters, Real Estate Television and Everyday Cosmopolitanism 386Mimi White 22 Life Coaches, Style Mavens, and Design Gurus: Everyday Experts on Reality Television 402Tania Lewis 23 Reality Television Celebrity: Star Consumption and Self-Production in Media Culture 421Julie A. Wilson 24 Producing “Reality”: Branded Content, Branded Selves, Precarious Futures 437Alison Hearn Part Six Affective Registers: Reality, Sentimentality, and Feeling 457 25 A Matter of Feeling: Mediated Affect in Reality Television 459Misha Kavka 26 “Walking in Another’s Shoes”: Sentimentality and Philanthropy on Reality Television 478Heather Nunn and Anita Biressi Part Seven The Politics of Reality: Global Culture, National Identity, and Public Life 499 27 Reality Television, Public Service, and Public Life: A Critical Theory Perspective 501Peter Lunt 28 Reality Talent Shows in China: Transnational Format, Affective Engagement, and the Chinese Dream 516Ling Yang 29 Reality Television from Big Brother to the Arab Uprisings: Neoliberal, Liberal, and Geopolitical Considerations 541Marwan M. Kraidy Index 557
Laurie Ouellette is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches Critical Media Studies. She has published extensively on reality television and is co-editor of Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture (2004 and 2009), and co-author of Better Living Through Reality TV: Television and Post-Welfare Citizenship (Wiley, 2008).
A Companion to Reality Television presents a comprehensive guide to the study of reality, factual and nonfiction entertainment television. Broader in scope and scale than existing collections, the Companion encompasses major primetime entertainment formats, including talent competitions, makeovers, dating programs, reality soap operas and social experiments; it also covers lifestyle/how-to programming, game shows and talk shows featuring “ordinary” people, and online initiatives that evoke the shifting boundaries of producer versus consumer, content versus advertising, and ordinary versus celebrity. International in scope, the Companion synthesizes and intervenes within important theories, debates and issues, and traces and explains the social, historical, political, commercial, ethical, and creative dimensions of reality/factual/non-fiction television entertainment. It also analyzes the production, conventions and reception of major formats, and situates reality television as a global and local phenomenon, identifying and commenting upon emergent trends. Leading scholars in the intersecting fields of media studies, television studies, cinema studies, and cultural studies provide theoretical depth and clarity on the history of nonfiction and reality television, forge links to important scholarly debates, and analyze the politics of reality entertainment worldwide.
“Laurie Ouellette has created an indispensable resource for those working in media studies, television studies, communication, and critical industry studies. This is a lively and unique collection, including essays by so many and such diverse scholars who take reality television as a context for understanding broader cultural, economic and political conditions and questions about everyday life. The reach of the book is expansive, beginning with industry and labor issues involved in producing reality television, ending with global politics and distribution, with smart, incisive analyses of histories, identity, affect, and subjectivities in between. After several decades of reality television and scholarship that investigates it, this book offers a convincing, important, and timely contribution to the field.” –Sarah Banet-Weiser, University of Southern California, USA
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