Billy Proctor
billyproctor@hotmail.co.uk
Rob Jewitt
robert.jewitt@sunderland.ac.uk

You’re Fired! You’re Hired!
Reality TV...
What is this?
René Magritte
The Treachery of Images
Essential reading

4
Neoliberal Reality TV

5
The End of History?
 Fall of Communism (Berlin Wall; Soviet Bloc)
 Triumph of the West (Capitalism)

6
The End of History?
 What we may be witnessing is not just
the end of the Cold War, or the passing
of a particular period...
The spawn of neoliberals

8
What is Neoliberalism?
 ‘a theory of political economic practices
that proposes that human well-being
can best be advance...
What is Neoliberalism?
 ‘Market liberalism sees society primarily
as an aggregation of individuals rather
than in the abs...
The Apprentice USA













Money money money money,
money (x6)
Some people got to have it
Some people rea...
The O’Jays – ‘For The Love of Money’
(1974)


For the love of moneyPeople will
steal from their motherFor the
love of mon...
The Apprentice USA (S1 DVD)


So you wanna be the next big thing



You wanna have a jet plane



Ah,you wanna have


...
The Apprentice UK (S7E1, 2011)

14
Ideologies
 ‘bring business to those who might not
have thought it was for them’.
 Jane Lush, BBC controller of
Entertai...
Ideologies


‘the programme is imbricated within a
specific historical conjuncture within which
the values of the public ...
The World of Work
 Education as a preparation factory for capitalism.
 What Louis Althusser calls ‘Ideological State
App...
Marx: Ideological forms
 ‘Texts (television fiction, pop songs,
novels, feature films etc) always
present a particular im...
Ideology
 Bertolt Brecht – German playwright:
 ‘good or bad, a play always
includes
an
image
of
the
world...There is no ...
Naturalization/ Common-Sense
 ‘The ideas of the ruling class are in
every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e
the class which is ...
Naturalization/ Common-Sense
 ‘The ruling class … is compelled ... to
represent its interest as the common
interest of al...
It Could Be You!
 ‘Luxury goods are emphasized as highly
desirable, as the just deserts and
rewards of each challenge’.
...
Inequality as natural?
 Top 1% of UK earners own 10% of all UK
income


increase from 7% in mid-1990s

 Bottom 50% own ...
Cultural Sponges?
 ‘neoliberal governance is absorbed
through narrative pleasure’.
 Do we agree that ‘through The
Appren...
‘Everyone’s knifing every other
fucker in the back, so what’s the
fucking
problem?’
(Syed Ahemd, S2)
 Competition
 Aggre...
Ethics??
 ‘there is an ethical question about
whether we are happy to live in
societies where reality TV formats – with
t...
Ethics??
 ‘For Couldry and Littler, the media
producers themselves should ‘stop
claiming that programmes such as The
Appr...
René Magritte
The Treachery of Images
The Fairy Jobmother (S2E1, 2011)

29
The Sun

30
Benefits myths
 2011-12


£159bn spent on benefits



23% of all public spending

31
Benefits myths

32
Benefits myths
 in households with two or more
generations of working age, there
were only 0.3% where neither
generation ...
Representing the working class
Broadcast
27th Feb 2013

34
Stepping on the downtrodden?

35
Or empowering people?

Katie Buchanan (Channel 4, Executive Producer, Skint)
36
Selected sources


Couldry, N and Littler, J (2008) ‘The World of Work: The Apprentice’ in Austin and
Thomas (eds.) Rethi...
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  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEAKvnb_OX4 Undercoer Boss Southern Fried Chicken
  • 3:15 onwards
  • 3:15 onwards
  • Celebration of capitalism?
  • Opening: intro to competitiors - celebration of Sugar’s rags to riches – arguments
  • Ask students where this is spent
  • Ask students where this is spent
  • You're fired or are you hired? [edit]

    1. 1. Billy Proctor billyproctor@hotmail.co.uk Rob Jewitt robert.jewitt@sunderland.ac.uk You’re Fired! You’re Hired! Reality TV and Ideologies of Capitalism #mac201 1
    2. 2. What is this?
    3. 3. René Magritte The Treachery of Images
    4. 4. Essential reading 4
    5. 5. Neoliberal Reality TV 5
    6. 6. The End of History?  Fall of Communism (Berlin Wall; Soviet Bloc)  Triumph of the West (Capitalism) 6
    7. 7. The End of History?  What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such.... That is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government  (Fukuyama, 1989) 7
    8. 8. The spawn of neoliberals 8
    9. 9. What is Neoliberalism?  ‘a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets and free trade [...] deregulation, privatization, and withdrawal of the state from many areas of social provision...’  (Harvey, 2005: 2- 3) 9
    10. 10. What is Neoliberalism?  ‘Market liberalism sees society primarily as an aggregation of individuals rather than in the abstract terms of social groups. People now live, it is stressed, in open societies, free of the rigidities associated with class because the market is an egalitarian force that promotes equality of opportunity in the interests of efficiency. Hard work, talent and enterprise are rewarded within market societies as a way of fostering wealth-creation in the interests of all’  (Curran, 2006: 142) 10
    11. 11. The Apprentice USA             Money money money money, money (x6) Some people got to have it Some people really need it Listen to me y'all, Do things, do things, do bad things with it Dollar bills, y’all Call it lean, mean, mean green Almighty dollar Don’t you know that .. Money Give me a nickel, brother Can you spare a dime Money can drives some people out of their minds  The O’Jays – ‘For The Love of Money’ (1974) 11
    12. 12. The O’Jays – ‘For The Love of Money’ (1974)  For the love of moneyPeople will steal from their motherFor the love of moneyPeople will rob their own brotherFor the love of moneyPeople can't even walk the streetBecause they never know who in the world they're gonna beatFor that lean, mean, mean greenAlmighty dollar, money  For the love of moneyPeople will lie, Lord, they will cheatFor the love of moneyPeople don't care who they hurt or beatFor the love of moneyA woman will sell her precious bodyFor a small piece of paper it carries a lot of weightCall it lean, mean, mean green http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ll3uipTO-4A 12
    13. 13. The Apprentice USA (S1 DVD)  So you wanna be the next big thing  You wanna have a jet plane  Ah,you wanna have  Your face on the big screen  A big yacht  Your very own TV show  Wanna have a penthouse  Your name on a building  Alternate Lyrics 13
    14. 14. The Apprentice UK (S7E1, 2011) 14
    15. 15. Ideologies  ‘bring business to those who might not have thought it was for them’.  Jane Lush, BBC controller of Entertainment Commissioning  ‘it is the first entertainment show to have a real point – to show what it really takes to get ahead in business’.  Daisy Goodwin, editorial editor of Talkback Productions 15
    16. 16. Ideologies  ‘the programme is imbricated within a specific historical conjuncture within which the values of the public sector and public education are being melded with those of private business. The programme fits snugly into a Blairite landscape in which a variety of state schools are, in a variety of ways, being turned over to private corporate interests, whether through the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), City Academies, the channelling of business and enterprise specialist schools, or the more general encouragement of enterprise as a core educational enterprise’.  (Couldry & Littler, 2008: 260) 16
    17. 17. The World of Work  Education as a preparation factory for capitalism.  What Louis Althusser calls ‘Ideological State Apparatuses’ 17
    18. 18. Marx: Ideological forms  ‘Texts (television fiction, pop songs, novels, feature films etc) always present a particular image of the world. This definition depends on a notion of society as conflictual rather than consensual, structured around inequality, exploitation and oppression. Texts are said to take sides, consciously or unconsciously, in this conflict’  (Storey, 2006: 3). 18
    19. 19. Ideology  Bertolt Brecht – German playwright:  ‘good or bad, a play always includes an image of the world...There is no play and no theatrical performance which does not in some way affect the dispositions and conceptions of the audience. Art is never without consequence’.  (Cited in Storey, 2006: 3) 19
    20. 20. Naturalization/ Common-Sense  ‘The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e the class which is the ruling material force in society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force’.  (Marx & Engels, 1848/2004: 64) 20
    21. 21. Naturalization/ Common-Sense  ‘The ruling class … is compelled ... to represent its interest as the common interest of all the members of society ... to give its ideas the form of universality, and present them as the only rational, universally valid ones’  (Marx & Engels, 1848/2004: 65-6) 21
    22. 22. It Could Be You!  ‘Luxury goods are emphasized as highly desirable, as the just deserts and rewards of each challenge’.  ‘pole position seats on the catwalk at London fashion week’.  ‘He’s got his own fleet of executive jets and a Mayfair property portfolio’.  ‘“I have found you a house in the best street in the country”’ and points out that a house in the immediate vicinity has recently sold for £45 million pounds.’  (Couldy & Littler, 2011) 22
    23. 23. Inequality as natural?  Top 1% of UK earners own 10% of all UK income  increase from 7% in mid-1990s  Bottom 50% own 18%  decrease from 19% 23
    24. 24. Cultural Sponges?  ‘neoliberal governance is absorbed through narrative pleasure’.  Do we agree that ‘through The Apprentice’s complex ‘realist’ construction as documentary, a highly particular view of contemporary capitalism is naturalized’ and that the programme is ‘documentary realism with a price attached’?  (Couldry & Littler, 2008: 262-3) 24
    25. 25. ‘Everyone’s knifing every other fucker in the back, so what’s the fucking problem?’ (Syed Ahemd, S2)  Competition  Aggression seen as ‘normal’  ‘all that matters is individual combat’  (Couldry and Littler, 2008: 264)  The needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many 25
    26. 26. Ethics??  ‘there is an ethical question about whether we are happy to live in societies where reality TV formats – with their reliance on surveillance, interpersonal aggression, ritualized humiliations – have themselves become normalised, indeed legitimated as an apparent source of knowledge about today’s social realities’.  (Couldry & Littler, 2008: 266) 26
    27. 27. Ethics??  ‘For Couldry and Littler, the media producers themselves should ‘stop claiming that programmes such as The Apprentice exhibit ‘documentary’ qualities, and to acknowledge instead that they are games based on premises, and norms, that there is no reason for us viewers to necessarily accept’.  (Couldry & Littler, 2008: 267) 27
    28. 28. René Magritte The Treachery of Images
    29. 29. The Fairy Jobmother (S2E1, 2011) 29
    30. 30. The Sun 30
    31. 31. Benefits myths  2011-12  £159bn spent on benefits  23% of all public spending 31
    32. 32. Benefits myths 32
    33. 33. Benefits myths  in households with two or more generations of working age, there were only 0.3% where neither generation had worked 33
    34. 34. Representing the working class Broadcast 27th Feb 2013 34
    35. 35. Stepping on the downtrodden? 35
    36. 36. Or empowering people? Katie Buchanan (Channel 4, Executive Producer, Skint) 36
    37. 37. Selected sources  Couldry, N and Littler, J (2008) ‘The World of Work: The Apprentice’ in Austin and Thomas (eds.) Rethinking Documentary: New Perspectives, New Practices. OUP: Berkshire.  Curran, J (2006) ‘Media and cultural theory in the age of market liberalism’ in James Curran and David Morley (eds), Media and Cultural Theory, New York: Routledge  Fukuyama, F (1989). "The End of History?" The National Interest no. 16 (Summer): 318.  Harvey, D. (2005) A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  Littler, J and Couldry, N (2011) ‘Work, Power and Performance: Analysing the ‘reality’ game of The Apprentice’. Cultural Sociology, Vol 5, No 2 pp.263-279. 37

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