In this chapter we pause upon questions of definition and categorization concerning 'reality TV' or 'popular factual entertainment', and propose a typological model based on an aesthetic approach grounded in aesthetic/definitional approaches to the study of (popular) genre(s) and theorizations of screen documentary form and discourse. This chapter, therefore, provides a contribution to the conceptualization of 'reality TV' within the larger frame of the popularization and hybridization of screen documentary. We start with complicating and reconstructing an argument for the development of categories and the use of a textual/aesthetic approach against the background of postmodernist and poststructuralist deconstruction. Next, we situate 'reality TV' as an 'open' (or 'cluster') concept and develop a taxonomy which distinguishes between seven types, which are explained and exemplified: 'Caught-on-the-Fly Spectacles', 'Neo-Vérité', 'First Person', 'Caught Unawares', 'Simulated (Micro-)Social', 'Reflexive Performance' and 'Dramatized Recreation'. The structuring principle for the categorization is, broadly, the distinctive aesthetic and ethos on which each individual 'reality claim' of a particular category of formats/programs proceeds in visual, technological and discursive terms (cf. Holmes and Jermyn, 2004). Key debates on referential and 'reality' values, 'use values' and ethics, can only proceed in a meaningful way if we allow for the differences of kind and degree to occur within the larger 'family' of 'reality TV'. This chapter intends to provide a conceptual body that allows for meaningful differentiation and could provide a fruitful basis for the further elaboration, still, of a poetics or an ethics of 'reality TV'.
|Title of host publication||Unknown|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|