The Labour of Transformation and Circuits of Value ‘around’ Reality Television

Skeggs, Bev and Wood, Helen. 2008. The Labour of Transformation and Circuits of Value ‘around’ Reality Television. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 22(4), pp. 559-572. ISSN 1030-4312 [Article]

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Drawing on recent research from a project which included both textual and audience research, this paper will explore the involvement of women viewers with 'reality' TV as 'circuits of value'. These relationships cannot be adequately described as deconstructions of representations as in a text-reader framework of media theory. Rather, we examine these relationships as an extended social realm, whereby the immanent structure of reality television generates emotional connections to the labouring undertaken by participants on the programmes. 'Reality' television develops different traditions of women’s genres from melodrama, magazines to lifestyle television, it drawing attention to those who need transformation. By promoting different forms of women’s emotional, appearance and domestic labour, it parallels broader political shifts to an 'affective economy'. Rather than these texts producing wholly divisive moral reactions in viewers, we noticed how our audience participants assessed the forms of labour performed through their different classed resources, made judgements through pursuing connections with their own lives, and ultimately tended to value care over condemnation.

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lifestyle, magazine, labour, affective economy, television, media theory, women, audience

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August 2008Published

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Date Deposited:

28 May 2009 09:54

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:27

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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