'Reality' and the Plebiscite

Hartley, John (2007) 'Reality' and the Plebiscite. In Riegert, Kristina (Ed.) Politicotainment : television's take on the real. Peter Lang, New York, pp. 21-58.

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At the root of democratic politics is the vote. This chapter shows how the vote is faring in entertainment formats, especially 'reality' television. The chapter argues that democracy has always been fused with entertainment. What is new is a shift from modern democratic processes to a new paradigm based not on representation but on direct participation, led by consumer culture not political culture. The chapter identifies a new form of intermediary agency that has grown up in the interface between consumers and popular media; the 'plebiscitary industries.' These include production companies and service-providers whose business it is to commercialise the popular vote by turning it into an entertainment format. The chapter analyses various 'plebiscitary' formats in reality TV, from the Eurovision Song Contest to Celebrity Big Brother. It shows that the plebiscitary industries have caught the digital wave and are using new interactive technologies and software for what Stephen Coleman calls 'conversational democracy.' Part of its appeal is the straightforward fun to be had from making public, by voting, the personal act of choice.

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ID Code: 12637
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: For more information about this book please refer to the publisher's website (see link) or contact the author.
Additional URLs:
ISBN: 9780820481142
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Peter Lang
Deposited On: 17 Apr 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2016 05:26

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