Airing Dirty Laundry

in The Money Shot

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2002 | ISBN: 9780226309095
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226309088 | DOI:
Airing Dirty Laundry

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This book is an ethnographic account of experience “behind the scenes” at two nationally televised daytime talk shows produced in the United States. It is also an account of how daytime talk shows both challenge and reinscribe long-standing hierarchies between “high” and “low” culture, expert and ordinary knowledge, and the ways in which these hierarchies are related to social—especially class—inequality. A close cousin of “reality television,” daytime talk shows typically feature a host, a panel of “ordinary” guests, and a participatory studio audience. Traditionally geared toward women, talk shows cover a wide range of topics, from sexual abuse, weight loss, and interracial adoption to gay parenting, marital infidelity, and prostitution. They take the backstage of everyday life and put it up front, onstage, making public events of personal experience. And, despite the fact that talk shows routinely incorporate experts as well as the occasional celebrity guest, “ordinary people” are the real stars and experts of the show.

Keywords: talk shows; United States; daytime shows; reality television; studio audience; public events; personal experience

Chapter.  10366 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Media Studies

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