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Placing Reality TV in the Cultural Spectrum: Making a Case for Studying the World of Reality Television

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Abstract:

The rapid explosion of reality television has created a vacuum of scholarly research on a form of media that has quickly permeated the current cultural landscape. Specifically, the idea that through the use of ‘non-actors’ and unscripted premises, we can garner some ideas of the basic structure of society is both controversial and appealing. Though the basic premise of entertainment television is that this type of program is nothing more than diversion, the fact remains that these types of programs are organized to attract audiences for either personal satisfaction or financial profit (Turow 1991: 165). Ouellette and Murray contend that reality TV is “an unabashedly commercial genre united less by aesthetic rules or certainties than by the fusion of popular entertainment with a self-conscious claim to the discourse for the real” (2004:2). The proliferation of reality TV also points to changes taking place in the industrial context of labor unrest, changing technologies, and other financial considerations. The emphasis of reality programming on audience interaction and commercial orientation makes the meanings and representations shown to viewers a significant aspect of this genre. These facts in conjunction with the pervasiveness of reality TV, makes an understanding of this medium incredibly important. The current research seeks to examine the factors that make this genre worthy of study and what studying reality TV can tell us about society including race, ethnicity, and race and ethnic relations.

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realiti (77), televis (69), cultur (64), program (35), popular (29), tv (25), 2004 (23), new (23), media (21), real (21), race (17), world (17), studi (16), form (15), genr (15), research (15), racism (15), market (14), high (14), audienc (14), white (14),
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Name: American Sociological Association
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MLA Citation:

Filoteo, Janie. "Placing Reality TV in the Cultural Spectrum: Making a Case for Studying the World of Reality Television" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Marriott Hotel, Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Philadelphia, PA, Aug 12, 2005 <Not Available>. 2017-10-09 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p23432_index.html>

APA Citation:

Filoteo, J. , 2005-08-12 "Placing Reality TV in the Cultural Spectrum: Making a Case for Studying the World of Reality Television" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Marriott Hotel, Loews Philadelphia Hotel, Philadelphia, PA Online <PDF>. 2017-10-09 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p23432_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: The rapid explosion of reality television has created a vacuum of scholarly research on a form of media that has quickly permeated the current cultural landscape. Specifically, the idea that through the use of ‘non-actors’ and unscripted premises, we can garner some ideas of the basic structure of society is both controversial and appealing. Though the basic premise of entertainment television is that this type of program is nothing more than diversion, the fact remains that these types of programs are organized to attract audiences for either personal satisfaction or financial profit (Turow 1991: 165). Ouellette and Murray contend that reality TV is “an unabashedly commercial genre united less by aesthetic rules or certainties than by the fusion of popular entertainment with a self-conscious claim to the discourse for the real” (2004:2). The proliferation of reality TV also points to changes taking place in the industrial context of labor unrest, changing technologies, and other financial considerations. The emphasis of reality programming on audience interaction and commercial orientation makes the meanings and representations shown to viewers a significant aspect of this genre. These facts in conjunction with the pervasiveness of reality TV, makes an understanding of this medium incredibly important. The current research seeks to examine the factors that make this genre worthy of study and what studying reality TV can tell us about society including race, ethnicity, and race and ethnic relations.


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