Reality TV

The Work of Being Watched

by Mark Andrejevic

Series: Critical Media Studies: Institutions, Politics, and Culture

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.

In The Press

Mark Andrejevic has written one of the most original, sophisticated, and important accounts of television in years. Its originality and importance is precisely how it explains TV by moving beyond TV—to understand TV through the Internet, to rethink the current mantra of 'interactivity,' and to locate the latest televisual trend ('reality TV') within the long histories of surveillance that have shaped the current 'surveillance economy' and the current applications of video and other communication technologies. Through this project, Andrejevic distinguishes himself as one of the most noteworthy young scholars of media and culture...

About The Author

Mark Andrejevic is assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa.