Can you say it more southern?: renewing hollywood's media colony in southern reality television

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dc.contributor Black, Jason Edward
dc.contributor Boylorn, Robin M.
dc.contributor Hubbs, Jolene
dc.contributor Payne, Matthew T.
dc.contributor.advisor Butler, Jeremy G.
dc.contributor.author Champion, Robert Theodore McWhorter
dc.date.accessioned 2017-03-01T17:47:46Z
dc.date.available 2017-03-01T17:47:46Z
dc.date.issued 2016
dc.identifier.other u0015_0000001_0002419
dc.identifier.other Champion_alatus_0004D_12771
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.ua.edu/handle/123456789/2723
dc.description Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
dc.description.abstract Recent reality television programming has reawakened the popular use of the American South and, specifically, working-class white southerners, for mass entertainment purposes. Nonfiction media have historically represented the South as a distinct and often inferior region of the United States, and an occasional critic has attempted to raise concerns about the disenfranchisement of a subculture of people, but scholars have yet to conduct major research on southern-themed reality shows. Using multidisciplinary approaches, this dissertation examines how nonfiction media have exploited and are currently exploiting the image of the working-class white southerner. As both southern media historian and an active practitioner in the television industry, I have a unique perspective that allows me to address this current trend and its potential problems. I begin the research by surveying prior nonfiction media dating back to the 18th century. This understanding of past publishing, journalism, films, and broadcasting helps identify specific conventions that media producers have historically applied to the mediated South. Countless stereotypes include excessive drinking, obesity, indecency, and anti-intellectualism. I then closely examine three recent reality television series, analyzing how these past conventions are transformed for modern audiences. Finally, by directly observing and participating in the production of a new, southern-themed reality program, I offer insight on how production culture can foster the perpetuation of stereotypes and serve the needs of both producers and on-screen subjects. By using cultural studies theories such as postcolonialism, I approach such exploitation as potentially harmful because it can revive regional conflict, reinforce stereotypes that affect actual people who live in working-class conditions in the South, and simultaneously allow the dominant white majority to excise or deny its own negative qualities and maintain status quo power structures. My research leads to my conclusion that “southerners” and southern culture are fundamentally discursive formations, part of what I call the “mediated” or “media South,” and that the “real” South cannot be successfully defined within the confines of a television show, despite explicit claims otherwise. The voyeurism involving these discursive constructs is not new, but the form has evolved with the reality television trend.
dc.format.extent 270 p.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher University of Alabama Libraries
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Electronic Theses and Dissertations
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Libraries Digital Collections
dc.relation.hasversion born digital
dc.rights All rights reserved by the author unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subject.other Film studies
dc.subject.other American studies
dc.subject.other Mass communication
dc.title Can you say it more southern?: renewing hollywood's media colony in southern reality television
dc.type thesis
dc.type text
etdms.degree.department University of Alabama. College of Communication and Information Sciences
etdms.degree.discipline Communication & Information Sciences
etdms.degree.grantor The University of Alabama
etdms.degree.level doctoral
etdms.degree.name Ph.D.


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