ABSTRACT

Why is reality television flourishing in today's expanding media market? Religion and Reality TV: Faith in Late Capitalism argues that the reality genre offers answers to many of life's urgent questions: Why am I important? What gives my life meaning? How do I present my best self to the world? Case studies address these questions by examining religious representations through late capitalist lenses, including the maintenance of the self, the commodification of the sacred, and the performance of authenticity. The book's fourteen essays explore why religious themes proliferate in reality TV, audiences' fascination with "lived religion," and the economics that make religion and reality TV a successful pairing. Chapters also consider the role of race, gender, and religion in the production and reception of programming.

Religion and Reality TV provides a framework for understanding the intersection of celebrity, media attention, beliefs, and values. The book will be of interest to students and scholars of religion and media studies, communication, American studies, and popular culture.

part I|45 pages

Maintenance of the self

chapter 1|15 pages

Flaunting Christian patriarchy in the 21st century

Todd Chrisley’s straight guy with the queer eye
ByDiane Winston

chapter 2|14 pages

Making over body and soul

Gender, selfhood, and parables of spiritual neoliberalism on Makeover TV
ByBrenda R. Weber

part II|59 pages

The performance of authenticity

chapter 4|18 pages

“This is just an incredible God thing”

Monetized domesticity in bottom-up media
ByKatherine Madden

chapter 5|14 pages

“The renovation starts now!”

Rite-of-passage reality television
ByErica Hurwitz Andrus

chapter 6|12 pages

When the most popular format reaches the most atypical country

Reality TV and religion in Israel
ByYoel Cohen, Amir Hetsroni

chapter 7|14 pages

All-American cancellation

Spectacle and neoliberal performativity in All-American Muslim
ByMelinda Q. Brennan

part III|58 pages

Niche markets

chapter 8|15 pages

Sister Wives

The Protestantization of Mormon polygamy
ByMyev Rees

chapter 9|16 pages

Paranormal reality television

Audience engagement with mediums and spirit communication
ByAnnette Hill

chapter 10|13 pages

Conjuring spirits in a neoliberal era

Ghost reality television, Third Wave spiritual warfare, and haunting pasts
BySean McCloud

chapter 11|13 pages

Amish reality and reality TV “Amishness”

Agonism in the cultural marketplace
ByStewart M. Hoover

part IV|39 pages

Commodification of the sacred

chapter 12|12 pages

Praying for reality

The invisible hand in Downey and Burnett’s Answered Prayers
BySharon Lauricella

chapter 13|13 pages

“The Search for a Young Imam Begins Now”

Imam Muda and civilizational Islam in Malaysia
ByAndrea Stanton

chapter 14|13 pages

Preachers of Oxygen

Franchising faith on reality TV
ByMara Einstein