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Civic Purposes in Reality Tv

Autor:   •  December 4, 2017  •  Term Paper  •  545 Words (3 Pages)  •  185 Views

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Asli Tasci

Dr. C. Sommerfelt

English 102

9 October 2017

Civic purposes in Reality TV

        Laurie Ouellette’s “Reality TV gives back: On the civic functions of reality entertainment” examines and states that in the United States, “reality TV does not “divert” passive audiences from the serious operations of democracy and public life” (285) but  John Corner has a different say in this provided in his 2002 essay “Performing the Real: Documentary Diversions”, identifying the lack of civic purpose in reality TV defining attribute which the unscripted entertainment was borrowed since the late 1990’s, he is worried that if TV programs like the Big Brother were only drawn by the look and style of it, then it is eclipsed it’s historical “civic functions”, defined as official citizenship training, journalistic inquiry and exposition, and (from the margins) radical interrogation” (284). Reality TV has changed over years as Laurie Ouellette continues to provide examples and evidence throughout the story showing us negative and positive effects of the changes.

Public broadcasters such as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in the United Kingdom has definitely played a huge role in defining and developing televisions civic potentialities using it as an instrument of education so citizens might fulfill their national ‘duties and obligations” but ever since the 1990’s, this commitment has changed. It has changed its perspective on how a “good citizen” should be like. It removed any direct association with the official government policies and agendas, and this is where Laurie Ouellette comes in play. In Better Living through Reality TV: Television and Post-Welfare Citizenship, James Hay and herself argue that the United States does not present serious operations with the democracy and public life as much as it shows sociopolitical currents, demands of citizenship and much more. They assume that using this mechanism to promote what an everyday life really is, might make reality entertainment potentially useful to new strategies of “governing at a distance”. For example, reality games like The Biggest Loser express an indirect and unofficial role in constituting, normalizing, educating, and training the self-empowering the citizens. This could be good in a way, as to this reality show promotes a healthy lifestyle and to take care of yourselves but yet again can be seen in a negative perspective. It can push consumers away because it also demonstrates that people should change the way they look and not feel comfortable in their own skin, which may lead to mixed emotions. This can result in people changing the channel or simply turning off their TV’s which causes low-ratings.


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