What is Anthropology? Anthropology and Reality TV
What is Reality Television?History of RTV, characteristics, authenticity
1. What are the similarities and differences between anthropology as scientific endeavor and
televised versions of anthropology/ archaeology?
2. Can (and should) anthropologyand anthropologists enter the realm of popular culture?
• What is the purpose of the show?
• Yes or no?
What is Reality T.V. (RTV)?
Outline of History
— Quiz shows, prank shows (50s and 60s) ex: "That's incredible"
— Family life (1970s) - first "reality" show
— Amateur videos and talent contests (80s) - low budget. Ex: America's Funniest Videos, Star Search
— Talk shows (late 80s, early 90s)
— The Real World, 1991
— Premieresof Survivor and Big Brother, 2000s - prototypesof reality
— Increased popularity
Definition and Characteristics
...a commercialgenre that has in commonnot aesthetic rules, but rather, it is a fusion of popular
entertainmentstyles combined with a discourse of the real (Murray and Oullette 2009).
◦ Multiple media forms and styles
◦ Non actors and interactivity
◦ Unscripted, or minimal script; (supposedly) unmediated (unedited)
◦ Viewer participation
◦ Access to “the real” – authenticity - posting on Youtube
Authenticity: Productionand Perception
— Constantly negotiated:varies in the format and purpose of the show
— Viewers aware of mediation
— Use of documentarystyle = “neutral” camera
◦ ‘Frontstage’ - make it seem like there is a greater sense of authenticity b/c people are placed
in exotic place (like in Survivor)
— Tourists’ search for authenticity
Who is Bruce Parry, and what is the Tribe?
Tribe is a good example of mixing genres
Ø Show: adventure tourism/explorer/survivalgenre + documentarystyle
Ø Bruce Parry: ex-Marine “explorerand expedition leader”
Ø Anthropology?:website states that Parry “visits the worl