Everyday Intimacies: The Politics of Respectability in Post-Recessionary Southern Reality Television
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Rather than taking a broad genre-based approach to analyzing reality television as digital media, this disserations understands the field of reality programming as operating within a new media model and as composed of micro-genres. My project specifically explores the "intimate" micro-genre, considering the politics of respectability and gendered labor as foundational elements in what is a particularly fertile and volatile site of meaning-making. Grounding my analysis in a comprehensive map of reality programming allows me to explore a pattern of politically rich programs set in the South. Shows such as Duck Dynasty, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, and Real Housewives of Atlanta offer insight into the circulation and currency of race, class, and gender with significant theoretical implications for an economically and politically unstable national moment. Using an intersectional lens to investigate reality television, my project seeks to better understand the gears driving our cultural anxieties and media trends through an analysis of digital paratexts, branding, labor, and affect.