When everyone has their own reality show

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Reality television does not do things to us – but it can represent to us some of the things we are doing to ourselves. In this regard, reality television remains a fruitful site for ongoing cultural study because it has something potentially interesting and instructive and therefore “real” to say about the society that continues to produce it. This chapter explores some of the dimensions of the portrayal of monitoring and surveillance on reality television, and how this might inform an understanding of broader surveillance practices in the digital era. Reality television is allegedly “real” not simply because it focuses on the lives of nonprofessional actors but also because it blurs the boundaries that separate the rarefied realm of cultural production from the daily lives of viewers. The chapter considers more closely the role played by surveillance and monitoring in the digital economy and on reality television.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to Reality Television
EditorsLaurie Ouellette
Place of PublicationChichester West Sussex UK
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781118599594
ISBN (Print)9780470659274
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • digital economy
  • information economy
  • productive surveillance
  • reality show
  • TV viewers

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