Better Living Through Reality TV: Television and Post-Welfare Citizenship

Front Cover
Wiley, 2008 M02 4 - 255 pages
From The Apprentice to Extreme Makeover, reality television has transformed network and cable television. Whether it is learning to succeed in business, navigating the rough waters of romance, managing our health or wallets, or perfecting the profile of our faces, reality television dispenses a powerful prescription for ways to live and conduct ourselves as “neo-liberal” citizen-subjects, who increasingly are expected to take responsibility for our own welfare in the aftermath of the “Great Society.”

Better Living through Reality TV asserts that reality television is a cultural technology through which we have come to monitor, motivate, improve, transform, and protect ourselves in the name of freedom, enterprise, and personal responsibility. Combining cutting-edge theories of culture and government with programming examples—including Todd TV, Survivor, and American IdolBetter Living through Reality TV moves beyond the established concerns of political economy and cultural studies to conceptualize television's evolving role in the contemporary period.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


List of Illustrations
Privatizing Care Mobilizing Compassion
Personal Responsibility and Techniques

5 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

Laurie Ouellette is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota. She is co-editor of Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture and author of Viewers Like You? How Public TV Failed the People.

James Hay is an Associate Professor in the College of Communication at the University of Illinois--Champaign-Urbana. He is a co-editor of The Audience and Its Landscape.

Bibliographic information