Panel 07 Identity of the Other

Event Title

Regional Otherness: How Reality Television Exploits Regional Culture

Presenter Information

Benjamin BrojakowskiFollow

Start Date

14-2-2015 9:30 AM

End Date

14-2-2015 10:50 AM

Panel

Identity of the Other

Abstract

Zevallos (2014) defines “Otherness” as the socially constructed identities of minority groups by groups with more political power. Studies on Otherness usually focus on race, gender, class, sexual orientation, disability, or any combination of these “different” characteristics. Media also plays an important role in how people view the Other by exploiting or challenging popular stereotypes. These media stereotypes impact the way media users understand culture, gender, race, etc.

Otherness can also be seen in the media portrayal of different cultures. Many Americans without the desire or financial means to travel to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, etc. only learn about these cultures from what they see on news broadcasts and television programs. Obviously, these television portrayals only depict a small number of people in a certain location at a specific time, but the content is often generalized to the entire culture.

Cultural Otherness is not confined by national boundaries, though. Regions of the United States, such as the South, Midwest, and Jersey Shore have recently been the focus of exploitative, but successful, reality shows that portray “real” life in these regions. These programs, such as Duck Dynasty, Jersey Shore, and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo create more wedges in American society by creating new Others. Now, smaller groups of individuals are Otherized by the dominant middle class and privileged society.

This research examines Otherness and examines ways it has been studied in past and contemporary contexts. I also explore the ways television creates Otherness in the minds of viewers.

Keywords: Otherness, Reality TV, Culture, Media Portrayals

References

Zevallos, Z. (2014, March 5). What is Otherness? Retrieved from http://othersociologist.com/otherness-resources/

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Feb 14th, 9:30 AM Feb 14th, 10:50 AM

Regional Otherness: How Reality Television Exploits Regional Culture

Zevallos (2014) defines “Otherness” as the socially constructed identities of minority groups by groups with more political power. Studies on Otherness usually focus on race, gender, class, sexual orientation, disability, or any combination of these “different” characteristics. Media also plays an important role in how people view the Other by exploiting or challenging popular stereotypes. These media stereotypes impact the way media users understand culture, gender, race, etc.

Otherness can also be seen in the media portrayal of different cultures. Many Americans without the desire or financial means to travel to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, etc. only learn about these cultures from what they see on news broadcasts and television programs. Obviously, these television portrayals only depict a small number of people in a certain location at a specific time, but the content is often generalized to the entire culture.

Cultural Otherness is not confined by national boundaries, though. Regions of the United States, such as the South, Midwest, and Jersey Shore have recently been the focus of exploitative, but successful, reality shows that portray “real” life in these regions. These programs, such as Duck Dynasty, Jersey Shore, and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo create more wedges in American society by creating new Others. Now, smaller groups of individuals are Otherized by the dominant middle class and privileged society.

This research examines Otherness and examines ways it has been studied in past and contemporary contexts. I also explore the ways television creates Otherness in the minds of viewers.

Keywords: Otherness, Reality TV, Culture, Media Portrayals

References

Zevallos, Z. (2014, March 5). What is Otherness? Retrieved from http://othersociologist.com/otherness-resources/