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A Companion to Reality Television

Laurie Ouellette

ISBN: 978-1-118-59959-4 January 2014 Wiley-Blackwell 592 Pages


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 1
Laurie Ouellette

Part One Producing Reality: Industry, Labor, and Marketing 9

1 Mapping Commercialization in Reality Television 11
June Deery

2 Reality Television and the Political Economy of Amateurism 29
Andrew Ross

3 When Everyone Has Their Own Reality Show 40
Mark Andrejevic

4 Cast-aways: The Plights and Pleasures of Reality Casting and Production Studies 57
Vicki Mayer

5 Program Format Franchising in the Age of Reality Television 74
Albert Moran

Part Two Television Realities: History, Genre, and Realism 95

6 Realism and Reality Formats 97
Jonathan Bignell

7 Reality TV Experiences: Audiences, Fact, and Fiction 116
Annette Hill

8 From Participatory Video to Reality Television 134
Daniel Marcus

9 Manufacturing “Massness”: Aesthetic Form and Industry Practice in the Reality Television Contest 155
Hollis Griffin

10 God, Capitalism, and the Family Dog 171
Eileen R. Meehan

Part Three Dilemmas of Visibility: Identity and Difference 189

11 The Bachelorette’s Postfeminist Therapy: Transforming Women for Love 191
Rachel E. Dubrofsky

12 Fractured Feminism: Articulations of Feminism, Sex, and Class by Reality TV Viewers 208
Andrea L. Press

13 “It’s Been a While Since I’ve Seen, Like, Straight People”: Queer Visibility in the Age of Postnetwork Reality Television 227
Joshua Gamson

14 The Wild Bunch: Men, Labor, and Reality Television 247
Gareth Palmer

15 The Conundrum of Race and Reality Television 264
Catherine R. Squires

16 Tan TV: Reality Television’s Postracial Delusion 283
Hunter Hargraves

Part Four Empowerment or Exploitation? Ordinary People and Reality Television 307

17 Reality Television and the Demotic Turn 309
Graeme Turner

18 DI(t)Y, Reality-Style: The Cultural Work of Ordinary Celebrity 324
Laura Grindstaff

19 Reality Television’s Construction of Ordinary People: Class-Based and Nonelitist Articulations of Ordinary People and Their Discursive Affordances 345
Nico Carpentier

Part Five Subjects of Reality: Making/Selling Selves and Lifestyles 367

20 Mapping the Makeover Maze: The Contours and Contradictions of Makeover Television 369
Brenda Weber

21 House Hunters, Real Estate Television and Everyday Cosmopolitanism 386
Mimi White

22 Life Coaches, Style Mavens, and Design Gurus: Everyday Experts on Reality Television 402
Tania Lewis

23 Reality Television Celebrity: Star Consumption and Self-Production in Media Culture 421
Julie A. Wilson

24 Producing “Reality”: Branded Content, Branded Selves, Precarious Futures 437
Alison Hearn

Part Six Affective Registers: Reality, Sentimentality, and Feeling 457

25 A Matter of Feeling: Mediated Affect in Reality Television 459
Misha Kavka

26 “Walking in Another’s Shoes”: Sentimentality and Philanthropy on Reality Television 478
Heather 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 501
Peter Lunt

28 Reality Talent Shows in China: Transnational Format, Affective Engagement, and the Chinese Dream 516
Ling Yang

29 Reality Television from Big Brother to the Arab Uprisings: Neoliberal, Liberal, and Geopolitical Considerations 541
Marwan M. Kraidy

Index 557