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Realism and reality formats

Bignell, J. (2013) Realism and reality formats. In: Ouellette, L. (ed.) A companion to reality television. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester; Hoboken, NJ, pp. 97-115. ISBN 9780470659274

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The chapter focuses on the relationships between 'Reality TV' and other ‘realist’ forms and genres of television. This issue is connected to larger debates about ‘televisuality’, and the understanding of the distinctiveness of the medium. Television processes and worries over reality in all of its genres, so that realism becomes a particularly ambiguous term. One meaning focuses on the actual scenes, places and people are represented rather than imagined. A second meaning refers to television’s representation of recognisable and often contemporary experience. Another meaning of realism refers to the development of new and different forms to give access to the real. Furthermore, the establishment of category distinctions in television, such as between factual and fictional forms, or between drama and documentary, could be seen as increasingly problematic in contemporary television. Reality TV can thought of as the trying-out of forms and modes of address in one genre or form that are adopted from apparently different genres and forms, thus creating connection and distinction simultaneously. This chapter addresses these distinctions and ambiguities within Reality TV, using examples including One Born Every Minute and The Only Way is Essex.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:35761
Uncontrolled Keywords:Television Reality TV Documentary

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