The Oprah Phenomenon

The Oprah Phenomenon

by Jennifer Harris
     
 

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With a Foreword by Robert J. Thompson Her image is iconic: Oprah Winfrey has built an empire on her ability to connect with and inspire her audience. No longer just a name, "Oprah" has become a brand representing the talk show host's unique style of self-actualizing individualism. The cultural and economic power wielded by Winfrey merits critical evaluation.

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Overview

With a Foreword by Robert J. Thompson Her image is iconic: Oprah Winfrey has built an empire on her ability to connect with and inspire her audience. No longer just a name, "Oprah" has become a brand representing the talk show host's unique style of self-actualizing individualism. The cultural and economic power wielded by Winfrey merits critical evaluation. The contributors to The Oprah Phenomenon examine the origins of her public image and its substantial influence on politics, entertainment, and popular opinion. Contributors address praise from her many supporters and weigh criticisms from her detractors. Winfrey's ability to create a feeling of intimacy with her audience has long been cited as one of the foundations of her popularity. She has repeatedly made national headlines by engaging and informing her audience with respect to her personal relationships to race, gender, feminism, and New Age culture. The Oprah Phenomenon explores these relationships in detail. At the root of Winfrey's message to her vast audience is her assertion that anyone can be a success regardless of background or upbringing. The contributors scrutinize this message: What does this success entail? Is the motivation behind self-actualization, in fact, merely the hope of replicating Winfrey's purchasing power? Is it just a prescription to buy the products she recommends and heed the advice of people she admires, or is it a lifestyle change of meaningful spiritual benefit? The Oprah Phenomenon asks these and many other difficult questions to promote a greater understanding of Winfrey's influence on the American consciousness.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Contributors to this collection examine several aspects of the Oprah Winfrey juggernaut, including her talk show, magazine, and book club. The thematically grouped essays critically analyze how she uses personal information, particularly her battles with weight, to effect a level of intimacy with her audience. Several of the articles mention the talk-show episode where, after a 60-pound weight loss, Oprah pulled onstage a wagonload of fat representing the loss. Her detractors also argue that her book club diluted the discussion of so-called literary fiction, and much attention is paid to Jonathan Franzen's being disinvited to discuss The Correctionsafter his seemingly ungrateful comments about the overall intellect of the book club and its members. More extensive in its coverage than Kathleen Rooney's Reading with Oprah: The Book Club That Changed America, this book identifies the common threads that run throughout Oprah's empire, the demographics of her audience, how she brings together women from diverse backgrounds, and her use of empathy and encouragement to foster self-improvement. Recommended for academic libraries.
—Regina M. Beard, Economics Librarian, Kansas State Libs.

From the Publisher
"Identifies the common threads that run throught Oprah's empire, the demographics of her audience, how she brings together women of diverse backgrounds, and her use of empathy and encouragement to foster self-improvement." — Library Journal

"Harris and Watson's book is intellectually stimulating and frankly a must-read for those curious about the nature of the 'Winfrey phenomenon.'" — Journal of Social History

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813137094
Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
Publication date:
03/16/2007
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
312
File size:
2 MB

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