Oprah Winfrey and the Glamour of Misery: An Essay on Popular Culture

Oprah Winfrey and the Glamour of Misery: An Essay on Popular Culture

by Eva Illouz
     
 

ISBN-10: 0231118120

ISBN-13: 9780231118125

Pub. Date: 10/29/2003

Publisher: Columbia University Press

"Oprah Winfrey is the protagonist of the story to be told here, but this book has broader intentions," begins Eva Illouz in this original examination of how and why this talk show host has become a pervasive symbol in American culture. Unlike studies of talk shows that decry debased cultural standards and impoverished political consciousness, Oprah Winfrey and the

Overview

"Oprah Winfrey is the protagonist of the story to be told here, but this book has broader intentions," begins Eva Illouz in this original examination of how and why this talk show host has become a pervasive symbol in American culture. Unlike studies of talk shows that decry debased cultural standards and impoverished political consciousness, Oprah Winfrey and the Glamour of Misery asks us to rethink our perceptions of culture in general and popular culture in particular. At a time when crises of morality, beliefs, value systems, and personal worth dominate both public and private spheres, Oprah's emergence as a cultural form -- the Oprah persona -- becomes clearer, as she successfully reiterates some of our most pressing moral questions. Drawing on nearly one hundred show transcripts; a year and a half of watching the show regularly; and analysis of magazine articles, several biographies, O Magazine, Oprah Book Club novels, self-help manuals promoted on the show, and hundreds of discussions on the Oprah Winfrey Web site, Illouz takes the Oprah industry seriously, revealing it to be a multilayered "textual structure" that initiates, stages, and performs narratives of suffering and self-improvement that resonate with a wide audience and challenge traditional models of cultural analysis. This book looks closely at Oprah's method and her message, and in the process reconsiders popular culture and the tools we use to understand it.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231118125
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
10/29/2003
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsxi
1Introduction: Oprah Winfrey and the Study of Culture1
2The Success of a Self-Failed Woman16
3Everyday Life as the Uncanny: The Oprah Winfrey Show as a New Cultural Genre47
4Pain and Circuses77
5The Hypertext of Identity120
6Suffering and Self-Help as Global Forms of Identity156
7The Sources and Resources of The Oprah Winfrey Show178
8Toward an Impure Critique of Popular Culture206
9Conclusion: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Television236
Notes243
Biblography263
Subject Index293
Name Index297

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