Essays /

Governmentality In Makeover Reality Tv Essay

Essay preview

Reality TV is a genre of television programming in which actual occurrences and unscripted situations are depicted, usually using a cast that is previously unknown to the audience. Since the beginning of reality TV programming, believed to be in the 1940s, it has become an increasingly popular form of television programming that ultimately achieved worldwide success in the late twentieth/early twenty first century. (OSU, 2001)

In this essay, a makeover reality TV show will be looked at with regard to its representation of governmentality. The programme that will be examined is What Not To Wear (UK), a BBC TV production that had series running through from 2001-2007. This makeover reality TV show focuses specifically on the themes beauty and appearance. The aim of this show is to take the shows contestants and transform them from “floundering individuals into successful self-managers” (Ouellette and James, 2008). What Not To Wear has proven to be a very successful programme after achieving significantly high viewer ratings on two of the UK’s most popular channels, BBC One and BBC Two.

The aim of this essay is to look at the idea that you cannot be a ‘good’ citizen unless you look good. It will focus on how techniques of governmentality are being used on makeover reality TV programming to achieve this by transforming the subjects into socially constructed idea of the ‘ideal’ citizen and ultimately achieve the desired outcome of becoming a good citizen. This will be done by first giving a brief definition on the term governmentality. This will be given in relation to the topic of discussion in order to fully understand how it is represented throughout the makeover reality TV show in question. What it means to be a ‘good’ citizen will also be looked at in order to compare how the shows contestants and the ways in which they have been changed as a result of their of their makeover with societies idea of what is right. An in-depth analysis of the structure and content of the makeover reality TV show What Not To Wear will then be given to show how governmentality is represented in this programme. Some of the representations of govermentality that will be looked at and examined will be the flow of power between individuals and also how these makeover reality TV shows promote techniques of governmentality not only to the contestants, but also to the wider audience through interactivity.

In order to discuss a makeover reality TV show with regards to its representation of governmentality, a definition should first be given on the term. Governmentality is concept developed by the French philosopher Michel Foucoult. He uses the term throughout his work to describe the ‘conduct of conduct’ or in other words, the process of government and also to describe the different sources of power that are at work within society. (Joseph, 2010) Foucoult offers many variations on the meaning of the term governmentality but focus’ mainly on two. The first meaning he offers is the traditional understanding of power as hierarchical, repressive and possessed by a particular social body or institution with the state being the most common example he gives of this exercise of power. The second meaning of the term given by Fou...

Read more


-2007 -291 -484 /instruct/soc499/cordray/media/realitytv.html 03 1940s 20.30 2000 2001 2005 2007 2008 2009 2010 2013 2014 22 24 283 29 30 4 471 abil abnorm accept access achiev acknowledg activ actual adher advic advis agre aim allow along also although analysi anoth appear appli area around aspect assess associ audienc author avail b.r back bare base bbc bbc1 beauti becom begin behaviour believ better bibliographi bodi boost brenda brief bring build buy cannot care case cast categori celebr centuri chang channel children choos chori citizen citizenship claim clear close cloth common communic communiti compar complet concept conclus conduct confid conjunct consid constantin construct content contest continu continuum contribut control correct creat critic cultur current daili databas day deal decemb decis definit depend depict depth describ desir develop differ disciplinari discuss display done dress duke durham e e-journ easili effect effort electron empow empower enabl encourag end enlist enough entir episod essay esteem etc evalu everyday everyth examin exampl excus exercis expect expert exposur fact fail fall famili fashion feel felt femin final first flounder flow focus follow form format foucoult french friend friend/family fulli futur genr get give given go gone good goverment govern government groom group guid guidanc h hand help hierarch high histori home howev idea ideal identifi immens import improv in-depth increas independ individu influenc input inspir instead institut instruct interact intern internet interpret introduc issu j jame januari joseph journal k.n kind know knowledg kubic l lack larg late lead learn learnt leav less level librari life lifestyl like limit littl live london longer look lost lot low made main major make make-ov makeov manag mani marit mcrobbi mean media meet member mention messag michel mind model money must need neglect new newfound nomin norm note novemb nuim occurr offer often old on-hand one onlin order oregon osu otherwis ouellett outcom overal paradox particular passiv pdf peopl perceiv percept perfect period person philosoph play point popular posit possess post post-femin power practic prefer present press previous primari primarili problem process proclaim produc product program programm promot prove proven provid put question r.m rate real realiti receiv recommend reform regain regard relat relev reli remak report repres represent repress research resourc respons restructur result reunit review right role routin run screen second secondari see seek seen self self-car self-esteem self-govern self-help self-manag self-proclaim self-test selfhood seri serv set shape shop show shown signific similar sinc situat skill social societi sociolog someon sourc spare specif spend spread state step still strong structur studi style subject succeed success suggest surrend susannah sussex symbol take techniqu technolog televis temporarili term test themat theme thing throughout thrown time topic tradit trait transfer transform trinni turn tv twenti twentieth/early two uk ultim under-dress undergo understand univers unknown unless unscript upon use usual vari variat various via viewer violenc want wardrob way wear weber well whether wider within woodal word work worldwid would wrong