chapter  4
15 Pages

Reality TV and the Demotic Turn

ByGraeme Turner

This chapter discusses reality TV within an exploration described as ‘the demotic turn’. The function of reality TV for those participating in it has been an issue almost from the beginning, even though there are still relatively few studies which have involved talking directly to those participants. One of the common discourses through which the most popular examples of reality TV (typically, Big Brother but also The Biggest Loser, The Bachelor, The Apprentice and so on) are criticised involves asking the question – ‘what do these programs say about our society?’ The changes in media production, consumption and distribution that have prompted the coinage of the label ‘the demotic turn’, and reality TV’s central role in these changes, lead to the conclusion that it is now time for a serious review of our assumptions about the cultural function of the media in general and of television in particular.