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					Reality‟s Fantasy: Survivor‟s Fan
             Culture
     The Academic College of Emek
            Yezreel, Israel
     The Popularity of Reality
            Programs
Reality shows has recently become •
increasingly popular in many countries
around the world. It is a pervasive and
provocative phenomenon that is remaking
television culture and our understanding of
it.
Reality TV: Definition
“Unabashedly commercial genre united less •
by aesthetic rules or certainties than by the
fusion of popular entertainment with a self-
conscious claim to the discourse of the real.
This coupling . . . Is what has made reality
TV an important generic forum for a range
of institutional and cultural developments
(Murray & Ouellette, 2004, pp 22).
The Reality Genre
As a genre, reality television involves placing
“ordinary” people before the camera and deriving
some entertainment value from their activities
being unscripted.
What ties together all the various formats of the
reality TV genre is their professed abilities to
more fully provide viewers an unmediated,
voyeuristic, yet often playful look into what might
be called the “entertainment real”.
Survivor
Survivor is the most successful of the reality show •
and has become, perhaps, the “classic” format of
the current generation of reality. Interest in the
series had become an obsession: the focus of
media attention as well as the topic of everyday
conversation.
Survivor introduced an element that neither live- •
television documentaries nor drama could boast:
competition.
Survivors‟ Fan Community
“To „view‟ television is to engage in a relatively •
private behavior. To be a „fan‟ however, is to
participate in a range of activities that extend
beyond the private act of viewing and reflects on
enhanced emotional involvement with a television
narrative (Bielby et al., 1999, pp 36)
Jenkins (1991) adds: “the ability to transform •
personal reaction into social interaction,
spectatorial culture into participatory culture, is
one of the central characteristics of fandom (pp
291).
The Study‟s Objectives
Although many studies focused on how the •
viewing public constructs the meaning of reality
based TV, they did not examine the meaning fans
assign to their experience. This study examines the
way this experience is generate and organized in
youngsters‟ personal and social life arguing that
reconceptualization of reality itself is necessary to
help us understand the ways in which social
worlds are created during the formative years.
Methodology
This ethnographic study us based on individual •
and focus group interviews with 28 Jewish Israeli
high school students. They watch Survivor
Regularly, define themselves as Survivor‟s fans
and developed interpersonal and in-group
relationships on the basis of their interest in the
show. Occasionally, I was invited to spontaneous
meetings with the participants that took place in
their homes. In addition, two sites and the
complete DVD series of Survivor Australia were
subjected to a qualitative analysis.
Research Findigns
The Concept of Realism •
All the participants referred to the •
conceptualization of reality. Thus, media realism,
or the way in which a media representation is seen
to relate to real-world experience has been the
focus of the fans‟ reality judgment. Their
responses were emotionally involved and
indicated that the fine line between reality and
fantasy was somewhat blurred.
Research Findings (con.)
Shared Sense of Community •
The primary benefit of being a fan is embedded in •
a network of people with similar interests.
Moreover, discovering that others publicly share
the same perspective only reinforces the belief that
their perceptions are valid and legitimate.
Research findings indicated that reality fandom is •
as conflictual as everyday reality because the well
spring of fans‟ values was not the show, but rather
the overall fractious and competitive culture itself.
Research Findings (cont)
Fans’ Characteristics •
1. Survivor represents real life situations and    •
  people.
2. “Everyone can be a celebrity and enjoy fame”.   •
3. “Competitiveness is a crucial way for great     •
   success”.
4. “It‟s all about money” •
5. Willingness to over-look people‟s feelings •
6. “It‟s just a game” •
7. “I am the most important”. •
Discussion
The Survivor show has caught fan‟s imagination and
inspired fantasies. The show‟s content overflow
to many areas of life including: daily schedule,
areas of interest, consuming priorities etc.
What are the implications of theses processes on the
development of theses youngsters‟ world view
and the consequent social construction of
reality?
To Conclude,
Adolescent Survivor‟s fans perceive the show as real
presentation of reality and not a symbolic one.
Consequently, they incorporated to the
construction of their identity a fantasy that
functions as a role model for their future
personal, social, and professional development.
What does this reframing of television culture says
about our society? Does it reflect the basic
values of the capitalist world we live in or
reinforce them?
Final Word
Who is responsible for making the decisions •
regarding the formats and content of reality
programs?
Ironically, those who are the most competitive, •
powerful, and wealthy-”the lords of media”, make
the decisions based on their interests. Their form
of action closely resembled the values and
priorities portrayed in Survivor: competition,
quick profit, and a strong notion that all means
justify the end.

				
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posted:10/17/2011
language:English
pages:14