Ordinary People and the Media

The Demotic Turn

by Graeme Turner

Series: Published in association with Theory, Culture & Society

The 'demotic turn' is a term coined by Graeme Turner to describe the increasing visibility of the 'ordinary person' in the media today.

In this dynamic and insightful book he explores the 'whys' and 'hows' of the 'everyday' individual's willingness to turn themselves into media content through:

· Celebrity culture,

· Reality TV,

· DIY websites,

· Talk radio,

· User-generated materials online.

Initially proposed in order to analyse the pervasiveness of celebrity culture, this book further develops the idea of the demotic turn as a means of examining the common elements in a range of 'hot spots' in debates within media and cultural studies today.

Refuting the proposition that the demotic turn necessarily carries with it a democratising politics, this book examines the political and cultural function of the demotic turn in media production and consumption across the fields of reality TV, print and electronic news and current affairs journalism, citizen and online journalism, talk radio, and user-generated content online.

It examines these fields in order to outline a structural shift in what the western media has been doing lately, and to suggest that these media activities represent something much more fundamental than contemporary media fashion.

In The Press

Examines rigorously perhaps the most important debate within TV Studies... Smartly and engagingly written, this book draws on Turner's extensive work in this area to show how thinking about ordinary people and media offers valuable insights into areas such as globalisation, media industries, participation, representation, cultural politics and technology
Brett Mills
University of East Anglia


An outstanding intervention in contemporary debates about the emancipatory potential of the new media landscape. While "power to the people" may be the rallying cry in an age of blogging, Web 2.0 interactivity, and reality TV, Turner cautions against confusing the "demotic" with democracy. His deft analysis of how the media industries profit from the promotion of individualism and the "ordinary" compels us to revisit fundamental questions of power, identity, and community. Ordinary People and the Media is required reading for students and scholars navigating the shifting terrain of media and cultural studies
Serra Tinic
University of Alberta


Graeme Turner is one of the most interesting and thoughtful writers in the field of media and cultural studies. Ordinary People and the Media is a book full of perceptive ideas and critical insights. Starting from the recognition that there has never been a time when so many ordinary people have been so visible in the media, Turner explores what this means for ordinary people, the media, and media and cultural analysis. This is a wonderful book that should be read by all serious students of contemporary media and culture
John Storey
Director of the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies, University of Sunderland


Graeme Turner takes a balanced and exceptionally reasonable approach to assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the demotic turn in cultural studies
Jim McGuigan
Loughborough University