Renato Stella

The Arduous Vision: Taking an Ethnographic Stroll in Television

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  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Ordinary people, television, mediated self, ethno-mediated culture

This article deals with the experience of ordinary people involved in tv programmes based on personal emotions, confessions, games, and talks. The aim is to examine the reasons why ordinary people perform their selves when their participation is requested in reality shows, docu-soaps, infotainment etc. Applying Roland Barthes' concept of Spectrum to these types of tv programmes, we suggest that it is necessary to take into account a third actor, in addition to the traditional figures of broadcaster and audience. The functions and role of this actor are investigated through interviews with talk show participants and game show contestants. It was found that ordinary people are not simple devices used by the broadcaster to package his messages; they can also obtain emotional, cognitive, relational resources by participating in such programmes. In conclusion, the use made by ordinary people of the tv medium produces a sort of diffused ethnographic representation of everyday life, which adds itself to scholars' ethnography as a plausible interpretation of the world.

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