Putting your relationship to the test: Constructions of fidelity, seduction and participation in Temptation Island

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

Temptation Island only seems to feed the banal voyeurism of its viewers and to offer the participants the opportunity to derive pleasure from their stay and/or to increase their celebrity status. At the same time, popular culture is an important site for the societal construction of meaning. It is a place where definitions are offered on what our societies accept or not, tolerate or not, and sanction or not. Television programmes such as Temptation Island are microcosms allowing us to examine our boundaries as well as elements in our culture that we take for granted. It is in particular the emphasis on human relationships, gender and sexuality —core elements of society— that makes Temptation Island relevant research material. The analysis of the television text and the reception of this text (on online forums) shows the cultural importance and gendered nature of discourses on fidelity, honesty, physical beauty and on the holy rules of the game. It also shows how the (male) viewers enter into a social contract with the programme, in order to ogle the (female) bodies, to derive pleasure from the failure and misfortunes of the participants, and to tolerate emotional abuse in the name of the game.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunication and Discourse Theory
Subtitle of host publicationCollected works of the Brussels Discourse Theory Group
EditorsLeen Van Brussel, Benjamin De Cleen, Nico Carpentier
Place of PublicationBristol
PublisherIntellect Publishers
Pages115-136
ISBN (Print)9781789380545
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • temptation island
  • gender
  • social construction
  • popular culture

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