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This special issue examines reality television, analyzing how it produces certain ways of seeing, knowing, feeling, and being for viewers and society. The essays explore common reality television themes—health, housewives, “hot bodies,” and “hoochie mamas”—and programs including Jersey Shore, the Real Housewives, and Intervention in relation to gender, sexuality, race, and class. The contributors consider reality television’s industrial and affective economies, its constructions of celebrity and sociality, its ethics and epistemologies, and its implications for viewers and our culture. Unpacking a significant media phenomenon of the era, this issue allows readers to better understand and productively engage with today’s mediatized culture.
Lynne Joyrich is Professor of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University. She is the author of Re-viewing Reception: Television, Gender, and Postmodern Culture. She has been a member of the Camera Obscura editorial collective since 1996. Misha Kavka is Associate Professor of Media, Film, and Television at the University of Auckland. She is the author of Reality TV and Reality Television, Affect and Intimacy: Reality Matters and is the coeditor of Feminist Consequences: Theory for the New Century. Brenda R. Weber is Associate Professor of Gender Studies at Indiana University. Her books include Makeover TV: Selfhood, Citizenship, and Celebrity and Reality Gendervision: Sexuality and Gender on Transatlantic Reality TV, both also published by Duke University Press, and Women and Literary Celebrity in the Nineteenth Century: The Transatlantic Production of Fame and Gender.
Contributors: Pier Dominguez, Jane Feuer, Hunter Hargraves, Jennifer Jones, Lynne Joyrich, Misha Kavka, Michael Litwack, Kristen J. Warner, Brenda R. Weber