The Reflexive Self
University of Pennsylvania’s Katherine Sender visited T600 this week to discuss her soon-to-be-published book, The Reflexive Self: Makeover Television and its Audiences. Her book investigates audience members of reality makeover television and the shows themselves. Her research shows that people are surprisingly smart about the partial artificiality of reality TV but were convinced by high emotionality and remained ignorant of the macro level cultivation effect at play.
IU Gender Studies‘ Brenda Weber was the second speaker this week. She discussed the research that went into her book, Makeover TV: Selfhood, Citizenship, and Celebrity. Two primary points arose from her research. First, a fundamental illogical premise underscores each show: in order to finally escape scrutiny, one feels the need to go on National television to be critically examined with aim of being reborn into their true self. Second, shows will employ any number of ideologies to promote the their premise (e.g., religion–you must suffer in order to be saved) but tend to avoid post-modernism.