Keywords: television, fame, popular culture, ethnography, active audience
The presence of a growing number of the general public on Italian television in the roles of contestants (in quizzes) or as guests (on talk shows and infotainment programmes) constitutes an opportunity to re-examine the traditional meaning attributed to the concept of "popular culture". In fact, the transformation which has characterised the relationship between audience and TV encourages us to look again at the rules through which televisual "fame" is attributed, as well as an empirical evaluation that is more attentive to the consequences which access to the mediatic stage has had for the spectators who are the programmes' protagonists. When we take all of these considerations into account the functions of televisual "popular culture" both take on and modify the perspective of "cultural studies"; starting with the contiguity between the symbolic spaces which characterise the private dimension of the subjective experience of who "watches TV", and the public representation of the lived experience enacted by those "who are on TV". This process defines a new modality of consumption and production of the content of televisual messages, which we term "ethnomediation".