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Reality TV

ISBN: 978-1-5095-0181-6
192 pages
January 2015, Polity
Reality TV (1509501819) cover image


Reality TV has changed television and changed reality, even if we are not among the millions who watch. Written for a broad audience, this accessible overview addresses questions such as:  How real is reality TV? How do its programs represent gender, sex, class, and race? How does reality TV relate to politics, to consumer society, to surveillance?  What kind of ethics are on display? Drawing on current media research and the author’s own analysis, this study encompasses the history and evolution of reality television, its production of reflexive selves and ordinary celebrity, its advertising and commercialization, and its spearheading of new relations between television and social media.

To dismiss this programming as trivial is easy. Deery demonstrates that reality television merits serious attention and her incisive analysis will interest students in media studies, cultural studies, politics, sociology, and anyone who is simply curious about this global phenomenon.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Definitions, History, Critiques
2. Reality Status
3. Social Television: Reality TV and New Media
4. Advertising and Commercialization
5. Gender and Race
6. Class
7. Politics
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Author Information

June Deery is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She has been a Faculty Fellow at the National Association of Television Program Executives and currently serves as her department’s Graduate Program Director.
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"This vibrant, accessible book provides an up-to-date synthesis of current patterns in and thinking about reality TV. Ranging across cutting-edge topics such as new media, commercialization, identity markers and politics, this illuminating study draws on an eye-popping array of programmes to argue that reality television is less a style than an ontology."
Misha Kavka, The University of Auckland

"Taking reality television seriously as "staged actuality," Deery presents a clear way to understand this phenomenon of the past twenty years through a seemingly inexhaustible knowledge of the programs and the scholarship on them. This is a great text for students and viewers alike."
Vicki Myer, Tulane University
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