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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 - What is Anthropology? Anthropology and Reality ..
Lecture 2 - What is Anthropology? Anthropology and Reality TV

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Linda Mc Nenly

The Cool Culture Soul Machine: The Anthropology of Everyday Life Lecture 2 – May 8, 2013 What is Anthropology? Anthropology and Reality TV Readings for todays lecture: - Caplan, Pat (2005). “In search of the exotic: a discussion of the BBC2 series Tribe.” Anthropology Today 21(2): 3-7 - Hughes-Freeland, Felicia (2006). “Tribes and Tribulations.” (A response to Caplan). Anthropology Today 22(2): 22-23 - Fish, Adam (2006). “Anthropologists Responding to Anthropological Television.” (A response to Caplan, Hughes-Freeland and Singer). Anthropology Today 22(4): 22-24 - Pitts, Mike (2012). “American Digger and Archaeology.” Anthropology Today 28(3): 1-2 Outline of Today’s Lecture  Today’s Concept, Theory, Framework: o By using anthropological guiding principles and fieldwork  Today’s Popular Culture example: Reality Television What is reality television? History, characteristics, authenticity 1. What are the similarities and differences between anthropology as a scientific endeavor and televised versions of anthropology/ archaeology? 2. Can (and should) anthropology and anthropologists enter the realm of popular culture? o What is the purpose of the show? o Yes or no? What is Reality television? - Is historically and contextually situated (where the definition is always changing and growing through time Outline of History - Quiz shows, prank shows (50s and 60s) - Family life (1970s) - Amateur videos and talent contests (80s) o Meaning with shows that had low budgets for example American Funniest Home videos - Talk shows (late 80s and early 90s) o Focus of this genre was on people’s lives and their confessions of their lives - The Real World, 1991 o Is the current model for reality televisions with conflict, drama etc. o This sparked the idea of the survivors and Big Brothers - Premiers of Survivor and Big Brother, 2000s o Researchers suggests that these shows are the prototypes for present day reality shows - Increased popularity is visible in increased in the number of dedicated channels for reality television o For example: Discovery Channel The Cool Culture Soul Machine: The Anthropology of Everyday Life Lecture 2 – May 8, 2013 The different genres of reality televisions: Definition and Characteristics - A commercial genre that has in common not aesthetic rules, but rather, it is a fusion of popular entertainment styles combined with a discourse of the real o Multiple and combination of media forms and styles o Non actors and interactivity – focus the real people o Unscripted, or minimal script; (supposedly) unmediated (heavy edited) o Viewer participation – for example voting for your favorite American idol o Access to “the real” – authenticity Authenticity: Production and Perception - Authenticity is the main idea of reality television with shows insight into real life - Constantly negotiated: format and purpose - Viewers aware of mediation o Where what we are watching has constructive elements and edited - Use of documentary style = “neutral” camera o Is set up to give you a “Front stage” access to real life o This gives a greater idea of what you see is real (a
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