Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mark Andrejevic – The Work of Being Watched


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



According to Mark Andrejevic in "The Kinder, Gentler Gaze of Big Brother: Reality TV in the Era of Digital Capitalism", internet based economy is dependent on subverting the distinction between sphere of consumption, manufacturing and leisure which was established with the rise of mass production. This end is accomplished, among other things, through techniques of surveillance which incorporate leisure and consumption into the production process of information. An additional feature of this digital capitalistic paradigm is that of active customization and consumers' active role in customized production. For this end surveillance is crucial and it is established by equating surveillance with self-expression and creativity. This type of so-called democratization of production brought about by the internet, Mark Andrejevic holds, is also manifested in the domain of reality TV shows, which promote the 'work of being watched".

Mark Andrejevic's analysis of TV shows such as The Real World and Road Rules (with reference to the Big Brother) shows that this type of reality shows are ruled over and regulated by producers, but can still argue to be "reality" on account of three features: first, reality TV uses non-professional actors . Secondly, reality TV shows are unscripted. And thirdly, the fact that reality TV shows do not present exceptional moments but rather track everyday occurrences as a kind of panopticon.

Much like the model of mass customization, in reality TV viewers/consumers are the ones who produce content which is then repackaged and sold back to them. For Andrejevic, shows like the Big Brother promote a type of subjectivity in which self exposure is a form of honesty as personal realization and as means for (financial and other) gains. Summiting to surveillance is viewed and presented by reality TV shows as the unification of work and creative living, and this for Andrejevic helps reinforce the conditions on which flexible consumerism in the era of digital capitalism can thrive on.


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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