Ordinary People and the Media: The Demotic Turn

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Overview

The 'demotic turn' describes the increasing visibility of the 'ordinary person' in the media today.

In this dynamic and insightful book, Graeme Turner explores the 'whys' and 'hows' of the 'everyday' individual's willingness to turn themselves into media content through:

Celebrity culture,

Reality TV,

DIY websites,

Talk radio,

User-generated materials online.

Further analysing the pervasiveness of celebrity culture, the book develops the idea of the demotic turn as a tool for examining common elements in a range of media and cultural studies 'hot spots'.

Rejecting the idea that the demotic turn necessarily carries with it a democratising politics, this book examines its political and cultural function in media production and consumption across many fields - including print and electronic news, current affairs journalism, and citizen and online journalism.

Graeme Turner outlines a structural shift in the western media, and suggests that these media activities represent something much more fundamental than contemporary media fashion.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice Magazine
Examines rigorously perhaps the most important debate within TV Studies... Smartly and engagingly written, this book draws on Turner's extensive work in this area to show how thinking about ordinary people and media offers valuable insights into areas such as globalisation, media industries, participation, representation, cultural politics and technology Brett Mills University of East AngliaAn outstanding intervention in contemporary debates about the emancipatory potential of the new media landscape. While "power to the people" may be the rallying cry in an age of blogging, Web 2.0 interactivity, and reality TV, Turner cautions against confusing the "demotic" with democracy. His deft analysis of how the media industries profit from the promotion of individualism and the "ordinary" compels us to revisit fundamental questions of power, identity, and community. Ordinary People and the Media is required reading for students and scholars navigating the shifting terrain of media and cultural studiesSerra Tinic University of AlbertaGraeme Turner is one of the most interesting and thoughtful writers in the field of media and cultural studies. Ordinary People and the Media is a book full of perceptive ideas and critical insights. Starting from the recognition that there has never been a time when so many ordinary people have been so visible in the media, Turner explores what this means for ordinary people, the media, and media and cultural analysis. This is a wonderful book that should be read by all serious students of contemporary media and cultureJohn Storey Director of the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies, University of SunderlandGraeme Turner takes a balanced and exceptionally reasonable approach to assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the demotic turn in cultural studiesJim Mc Guigan Loughborough University— C. Sterling
From the Publisher
Examines rigorously perhaps the most important debate within TV Studies... Smartly and engagingly written, this book draws on Turner's extensive work in this area to show how thinking about ordinary people and media offers valuable insights into areas such as globalisation, media industries, participation, representation, cultural politics and technology
Brett Mills
University of East Anglia

An outstanding intervention in contemporary debates about the emancipatory potential of the new media landscape. While "power to the people" may be the rallying cry in an age of blogging, Web 2.0 interactivity, and reality TV, Turner cautions against confusing the "demotic" with democracy. His deft analysis of how the media industries profit from the promotion of individualism and the "ordinary" compels us to revisit fundamental questions of power, identity, and community. Ordinary People and the Media is required reading for students and scholars navigating the shifting terrain of media and cultural studies
Serra Tinic
University of Alberta

Graeme Turner is one of the most interesting and thoughtful writers in the field of media and cultural studies. Ordinary People and the Media is a book full of perceptive ideas and critical insights. Starting from the recognition that there has never been a time when so many ordinary people have been so visible in the media, Turner explores what this means for ordinary people, the media, and media and cultural analysis. This is a wonderful book that should be read by all serious students of contemporary media and culture
John Storey
Director of the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies, University of Sunderland

Graeme Turner takes a balanced and exceptionally reasonable approach to assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the demotic turn in cultural studies
Jim Mc Guigan
Loughborough University

Graeme Turner’s fine book Ordinary People and the Media explores the structural shifts in western media that have given ordinary people extraordinary visibility as/in media content...Turner’s book will find a home on student reading lists for courses dealing in media and cultural studies, journalism, cultural sociology, and the like. It also strikes me that this book has particular purchase for anyone interested in knowing more about relations between media and democracy. Turner’s analysis of the media’s demotic turn expands our critical understanding of how the unprecedented participation of ordinary people in the media may look somehow democratic by virtue that ordinary folk are there, filling in the media content, taking part, having a voice. But it is an illusion. This exploration of the media’s demotic turn reveals the power of media elites remains pretty much intact
Participations: Online Journal of Audience & Reception Studies

CHOICE - C. Sterling
Examines rigorously perhaps the most important debate within TV Studies... Smartly and engagingly written, this book draws on Turner's extensive work in this area to show how thinking about ordinary people and media offers valuable insights into areas such as globalisation, media industries, participation, representation, cultural politics and technology
Brett Mills
University of East Anglia

An outstanding intervention in contemporary debates about the emancipatory potential of the new media landscape. While "power to the people" may be the rallying cry in an age of blogging, Web 2.0 interactivity, and reality TV, Turner cautions against confusing the "demotic" with democracy. His deft analysis of how the media industries profit from the promotion of individualism and the "ordinary" compels us to revisit fundamental questions of power, identity, and community. Ordinary People and the Media is required reading for students and scholars navigating the shifting terrain of media and cultural studies
Serra Tinic
University of Alberta

Graeme Turner is one of the most interesting and thoughtful writers in the field of media and cultural studies. Ordinary People and the Media is a book full of perceptive ideas and critical insights. Starting from the recognition that there has never been a time when so many ordinary people have been so visible in the media, Turner explores what this means for ordinary people, the media, and media and cultural analysis. This is a wonderful book that should be read by all serious students of contemporary media and culture
John Storey
Director of the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies, University of Sunderland

Graeme Turner takes a balanced and exceptionally reasonable approach to assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the demotic turn in cultural studies
Jim Mc Guigan
Loughborough University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Graeme Turner is Professor of Cultural Studies at the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, The University of Queensland, Australia

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Table of Contents

Introduction The demotic turn 1

1 Ordinary People: celebrity, tabloid culture and the function of the media 12

Ordinary celebrities 12

Producing ordinary identities 19

The media and their interests 23

Tabloidization 26

2 Reality TV and the Construction of Cultural Identities 33

The cultural function of reality TV 33

Reality TV and the demotic turn 42

Constructing cultural identities 47

Translating cultural identities 55

Conclusion 66

3 Redefining Journalism: citizens, blogs and the rise of opinion 71

The narrative of decline 74

'The people formerly known as the audience' 80

Entertainment and opinion 88

4 Talk Radio, Populism and the Demotic Voice 98

The polities of talk radio 98

Talk radio and the Cronulla riots 101

Talkback in Australia 105

American populism: talk radio in the USA 113

Populism and cultural studies 118

5 Revenge of the Nerds: digital optimism and user-generated content online 123

Cyberenthusiasms 123

Digital optimism 126

Reality check 133

YouTube, interactivity and free labour 142

Conclusion 150

6 The Entertainment Age: the media and consumption today 158

The entertainment age 158

Taking the 'mass' out of mass media 163

Ordinary people and the media 171

Bibliography 175

Index 186

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