By Laurie Ouellette
Combining state of the art theories of tradition and executive with programming examples—including Todd TV, Survivor, and American Idol—Better residing via fact TV strikes past the confirmed matters of political economic system and cultural reports to conceptualize television's evolving function within the modern period.
- A significant textbook at the influence of fact and way of life tv on today’s programming, and on broader social, cultural and political trends
- Draws on a number of examples from The Apprentice and American Idol to Extreme Makeover and Wife Swap
- Argues that truth tv teaches audience to watch, encourage, enhance, remodel and defend themselves within the identify of freedom, company, and private responsibility
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Additional resources for Better Living through Reality TV: Television and Post-Welfare Citizenship
Liberalism's emphasis upon the "reason of state" expected individuals to actively participate in their own governance. Effective government was to recognize the potential of private mechanisms of administration and management as well as the government of the self. To explain the State's rationalization of its role as welfare provider, Foucault often used the religious figure of the pastor, or "shepherd" who watches over his flock. " By this he meant that the techniques of working on and watching oneself developed through Christianity were also useful to a liberal governing rationality.
The program is part of the explosion of popular reality TV that began in the mid-1990s, and continues to this day. While reality TV has existed since the earliest days of the medium, only in the past decade has it become a major force in TV culture, with a vast array of reality-based entertainment and lifestyle programming taking hold during primetime and daytime hours, on network and specialized cable channels. Better Living through Reality TV situates the surge of popular nonfiction on television within strategies of liberal governance.
While the term most commonly is used to refer to any kind of production on television, our inflection focuses on the regularity and regulating quality of television as a framework for taking small steps in living life that may be promised or imagined to have enormous (and not just monetary) rewards. In this framework, the program involves taking these steps through a series of small tests, each requiring a correct response and a small reward or pleasure, before proceeding. In this way, the TV program is being reinvented as an instructional template for taking care of oneself and becoming self-enterprising as a path to (among other things) "empowered" citizenship.