chapter  11
12 Pages

(Mis)recognition and the middle-class/bourgeois gaze: A case study of Wife Swap

WithSamantha A. Lyle

This article originates from my profound reactions to ‘reality’ television in general and to a

particular episode from Series One of Wife Swap broadcast in 2003 (Channel 4). The episode

in which Lizzie and Emma exchange families is most obviously troubling because of the dra-

matic way in which Lizzie brings a halt to the swap. In this article I will argue that this

episode exemplifies many of the themes pertinent to the numerous series of Wife Swap and

‘reality’ television more widely, most notably those relating to contemporary discourses circu-

lating about social class and gender.