Drawing on cultural theory and interviews with fans, cast members, and producers, this book places the reality TV trend within a broader social context, tracing its relationship to the development of a digitally enhanced, surveillance-based interactive economy and to a savvy mistrust of mediated reality in general. Surveying several successful reality-TV formats, the book links the rehabilitation of 'Big Brother' to the increasingly important economic role played by the work of being watched. The author enlists critical social theory to examine how the appeal of 'the real' is deployed as a pervasive but false promise of democratization.
Mark Andrejevic is assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa.
Chapter 1 1 Between the New Medium and the Old Chapter 2 2 The Promise of the Digital Revolution Chapter 3 3 Rediscovering Reality Chapter 5 4 The Kinder, Gentler Gaze of Big Brother Chapter 6 5 Access to the Real Chapter 7 6 It's All About the Experience Chapter 8 7 Reality TV and Voyeurism Chapter 9 8 Survivor and Uncanny Capitalism Chapter 10 Bibliography