Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mark Andrejevic – – "The Kinder, Gentler Gaze of Big Brother: Reality TV in the Era of Digital Capitalism" – summary – part 2


Mark Andrejevic –   – "The Kinder, Gentler Gaze of Big Brother: Reality TV in the Era of Digital Capitalism" – summary – part 1 - 2 - 3 - 4



In "The Kinder, Gentler Gaze of Big Brother: Reality TV in the Era of Digital Capitalism" Mark Andrejevic argues that the late capitalistic need to monitor and predict consumption patterns leads to heavy reliance on market research. New internet based techniques have shifted this burden to consumers themselves; promoting the notion that surveillance works for consumers in allowing them to receive personally customized products and advertizing.

Customized production does not only run on direct interaction with consumers, but also creates secondary markets for information gathered and organized by middlemen. Consumer labor is therefore a source of profit for corporation both in a direct manner (that is, the fitting of products for specific consumers) and in an indirect secondary manner of turning consumer labor into a tradable good (that is, the monetizing of information). For Andrejevic the problem here is not (just) that of privacy, but that this system expands and strengthens the rein of organized corporations on non-organized consumers. Access to information is only one-sided, and only extensive data-bases, available only to large corporations, are useful in these e-commerce new ball game.

For Andrejevic, internet based economy requires more than technological and organizational means, it also necessitates the transformation of lifestyle in a manner that will be consistent with the need of digital capitalism. No profit can be made through the options of customization offered by the internet unless consumers will willingly submit their own private information and submit themselves to surveillance. In this respect reality Television shows such as the Big Brother, The Real World and Road Rules occupy a crucial function of reshaping our sense of privacy and by valorizing self-exposure as a means of personal expression.  Reality also helps to establish the logic of personal gain which can be had by cooperating with surveillance, as Andrejevic puts it: "reality TV replicates the promise of interactive commerce: that viewers/consumers will have a greater ability to particiapate actively in the production process".


Mark Andrejevic –   – "The Kinder, Gentler Gaze of Big Brother: Reality TV in the Era of Digital Capitalism" – summary – part 1 2 - 3 - 4

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