T?his is the first book about reality television to make class its central focus. Despite popular and media debate about the 'classed' behaviour of reality stars such as Jade Goody and Shilpa Shetty, and the class confrontations depicted in shows such as Wife Swap, class politics have been overlooked in much political and academic discussion of reality television. In their introduction, the editors spell out how reality television - by making visible new forms of performance labour - invites a serious discussion of class. Internationally-renowned media scholars and sociologists explore the ways in which 'ordinary people' enter the television frame, and how discourses of class are routed through national concerns and fears.
Through an analysis of programmes such as Celebrity Big Brother, The Hills, MasterChef and Ladette to Lady, the contributors tackle common assumptions in television analysis to show how the mere fact of 'being on tv' is not a straightforward route to recognition, democracy, mobility or value; how new moral economies are emerging in which judgement and aspiration are normalised; and that class relationships are key dramatic devices in the spectacle of television entertainment.
HELEN WOOD is Reader in Media and Communication at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. She is the author of Talking With Television: Women, Talk Shows, and Modern Self-Reflexivity (2009). BEVERLEY SKEGGS is Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. Her publications include Formations of Class and Gender: Becoming Respectable (1997) and Class, Self, Culture (2004), and she is the co-editor of the journal Sociological Review.
Introduction: Real Class; H.Wood & B.Skeggs.- PART I: MEDIATED EXCHANGE AND JUDGEMENT.- Class and Contemporary Forms of 'Reality' Production or, Hidden Injuries of Class 2; N.Couldry.- 'I'm common and my talking is quite abrupt' (Jade Goody): Language and Class in Celebrity Big Brother; A.Tolson.- Managing the Borders: Classed Mobility on Security-Themed Reality TV; M.Andrejevic.- Fame on the Farm: Class and Celebrity on Slovene Reality TV; Z.Volcic & K.Erjavec.- Reality TV without Class: The Postsocialist Anti-Celebrity Docusoap; A.Imre & A.Tremlett.- 'You've put yourselves on a plate': the Labours of Selfhood on MasterChef Australia; T.Lewis.- PART II: NORMALISATION, ASPIRATION AND ITS LIMITS.- 'I'm a girl, I should be a princess': Gender, Class Entitlement and Denial in The Hills; L.Taylor.- Organic Branding: The Self, Advertising and Life-experience Formats; G.Palmer.- 'The virtuous circle': Social Entrepreneurship and Welfare Programming in the UK; A.Biressi.- From All-American Mom to Super Bitch from Hell: Kate Gosselin and the Classed and Gendered Politics of Reality Television; B.Weber Investing in the 'Forever Home': from Property Programming to 'Retreat TV'; H.Nunn.- PART III: PERFORMING AND FEELING CLASS.- Reality Television's 'Classrooms': Knowing, Showing, and Telling about Social Class in Reality Casting and the College Classroom; V.Mayer.- From Jerry Springer to Jersey Shore: The Cultural Politics of Class in/on US Reality Programming; L.Grindstaff.- Pramface Girls: The Class Politics of 'Maternal TV'; I.Tyler.- Shame on you! Intergenerational Trauma and Working-class Femininity on Reality Television; V.Walkerdine.- 'This is a Matter of Pride': The Choir, Un-Sung Town and Community Transformation; L.Blackman.