Trans-Reality Television
The Transgression of Reality, Genre, Politics, and Audience

Edited by Sofie Van Bauwel and Nico Carpentier

Table of contents

Trans-Reality Television: The Transgression of Reality, Genre, Politics, and Audience
Edited by Sofie Van Bauwel and Nico Carpentier
Cloth • 0-7391-3188-5 | 978-0-7391-3188-6 • June 2010 • 340 pp
Paper • 0-7391-3189-3 | 978-0-7391-3189-3 • June 2010 • 340 pp

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About the book:

"This collection offers an energetic and illuminating range of explorations into what is involved in thinking about generic shifts and generic contexts. It does so in a period characterized both by radical transformations in the recipes and modes for mediating reality and by provocative questions about just what kind of datum points for representation 'reality' provides. The writings here will provide an excellent encouragement towards further debate."—John Corner, University of Leeds

Trans-Reality Television: The Transgression of Reality, Genre, Politics, and Audience offers an overview of contributions which engage with the phenomenon of reality television as a tool to reflect on societal and mediated transformations and transgressions. While some contributors delve deep into the theoretical issues, others approach the topic at hand through empirical studies of specific reality television formats and programs. The chapters in this volume are divided into four sections, all of which deal with how we see the fluid social at work in reality television through the trans-real, trans-politics, trans-genre, and trans-audience. The first section stresses the concept of the trans-real. These chapters go into the complexity of the construction of reality in reality television. The second section, which deals with the concept of trans-politics, offers a diversity of perspectives on the articulation and re-articulation of politics and the political. In the third section, trans-genre, the chapters analyze how the modern conceptualizations of genre and format are transcended. Finally, the last set of chapters articulate the concept of trans-audiences, using case studies of particular audiences and a study of reality celebrities. Trans-Reality Television concludes by returning to the sense and nonsense of the use of these 'post' concepts.


  • Introduction
    • Trans-reality TV as a site of contingent reality
      Sofie Van Bauwel and Nico Carpentier
  • I: Trans-Reality
    • 1: A Short Introduction to Trans-Reality
      Sofie Van Bauwel
    • 2: The Spectacle of the Real and Whatever Other Constructions
      Sofie Van Bauwel
    • 3: On the Media Representation of Reality: Peirce and Auerbach-two Unlikely Guests in the Big Brother house
      Fernando Andacht
    • 4: Reality TV and Reality of TV. How Much Reality is there in Reality TV Shows? A Critical Approach
      Anastasia Deligiaouri and Mirkica Popovic
    • 5: Trans-Professionalism Undone? The 2007 British TV Scandals
      Matthew Hibberd
  • II: Trans-Politics
    • 6: A Short Introduction to Trans-Politics and the Trans-Political
      Nico Carpentier
    • 7: Post-Democracy, Hegemony and Invisible Power. The Reality TV Media Professional as Primum Movens Immobile
      Nico Carpentier
    • 8: Punitive Reality TV. Televizing Punishment and the Production of Law and Order
      Jan Pinseler
    • 9: After Politics, What is Left is the Police. Police Videos and the Neo-Liberal Order
      Jan Teurlings
    • 10: Hijacking the Branded Self. Reality TV and the Politics of Subversion
      Winnie Salamon
  • III: Trans-Genre
    • 11: A Short Introduction to Trans-Genre
      Sofie Van Bauwel
    • 12: Genre as Discursive Practice and the Governmentality of Formatting in Post-Documentary TV
      Frank Boddin
    • 13: Trans-National Reality TV. A Comparative Study of the UK's and Norway's Wife Swap
      Gunn Sara Enli and Brian McNair
  • IV: Trans-Audience
    • 14: A Short Introduction to Trans-Audience
      Nico Carpentier
    • 15: Trans-Audiencehood of Big Brother. Discourses of Fans, Producers and Participants
      Mikko Hautakangas
    • 16: Reality TV and "Ordinary" People. Re-visiting Celebrity, Performance and Authenticity
      Su Holmes
    • 17: Lifestyle TV. Critical attitudes towards "banal" programming
      Tanja Thomas
    • 18: The politics of the prefix. From "post" to "trans" (and back)?
      Nico Carpentier and Sofie Van Bauwel
  • Index
  • About the Authors

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