Oprah Winfrey and the Glamour of Misery: An Essay on Popular Culture / Edition 1

Oprah Winfrey and the Glamour of Misery: An Essay on Popular Culture / Edition 1

by Eva Illouz
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Columbia University Press


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Oprah Winfrey and the Glamour of Misery: An Essay on Popular Culture / Edition 1

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: 9780231118132
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 10/29/2003
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 1,098,087
Product dimensions: 6.02(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.71(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Oprah Winfrey and the Sociology of Culture
2. The Success of a Self-Failed Woman
3. Everyday Life as the Uncanny: The Oprah Winfrey Show as a New Cultural Genre
4. Pain and Circuses
5. The Hypertext of Identity
6. Suffering and Self-Help as Global Forms of Identity
7. The Sources and Resources of The Oprah Winfrey Show
8. Toward an Impure Critique of Popular Culture
9. Conclusion: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Television

What People are Saying About This

Elizabeth Long

[Illouz] definitely accomplishes what she sets out to do, and does it with grace and eloquence. The topic is developed clearly and logically, and with a richness of detail and appreciation for the subject that makes it stand out among studies of Oprah, and of television in general.

Elizabeth Long, Rice University

Susan Neiman

Examining Oprah as moral entrepreneur reveals the depth and dignity of everyday frameworks for making sense of misery. Illouz's blend of sharp-sighted analysis, irony and compassion will change the way we see popular culture.

Susan Neiman, Director, Einstein Forum and author of Evil in Modern Thought

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