Professors Bethany Klein and Stephen Coleman publish new article
Their new article focuses on reality television participation and democratic representation.
Professors Bethany Klein and Stephen Coleman have published a new article in Media, Culture & Society. “Look at me, I’m on TV: the political dimensions of reality television participation” draws on press interviews with and coverage of reality television participants to explore how participants enact representative performances that might supplement more formal modes of democratic representation.
In recent decades political democracies have seen a decline in trust for traditional representative institutions and procedures. Most people are committed to the idea of democracy, but disappointed by the efficiency of representative mechanisms. Some participants in reality TV formats see participation as an opportunity to engage in acts of representation, speaking as, about or for particular groups or causes. Klein and Coleman argue that reality TV has opened up a space for the representation of populations with a limited public voice, exposing audiences to groups, issues and values that they might not otherwise have an opportunity to encounter on television.