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Big Brother: Reconfiguring the ‘active’ audience of cultural studies?

Tincknell, Estella; Raghuram, Parvati


Parvati Raghuram


The emergence of a relatively new genre, ‘reality television’, has helped to break down the division between text and audience in significant ways, and this presents us with interesting questions for cultural studies. In this article we consider one such text, the enormously successful ‘reality gameshow’ Big Brother, and explore the extent to which it challenges or helps to reconfigure current conceptualizations of the audience and the ‘television text'. We outline some of the issues involved in analyzing Big Brother and situate the program within the context of the complex history of cultural studies’ attempts to ‘think the audience’ for popular media. © 2002, SAGE Publications. All rights reserved.


Tincknell, E., & Raghuram, P. (2002). Big Brother: Reconfiguring the ‘active’ audience of cultural studies?. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 5(2), 199-215.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2002
Journal European Journal of Cultural Studies
Print ISSN 1367-5494
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 2
Pages 199-215
Keywords intertextuality, media texts, reality television, resistant audience, technology
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : One of the most frequently downloaded articles in the EJCS (no. 7 in ranking), this peer reviewed journal article was reprinted with minor revisions in Understanding Reality Television (Holmes and Jermyn, 2004), the first reader in the area of reality TV. It has received at least 10 citations including: S. Holmes, �But This Time You Choose', International Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol. 7, No. 2, 213-231 (2004); S. Holmes, �Reality Goes Pop! Reality TV, Popular Music, and Narratives of Stardom in Pop Idol', Television & New Media, Vol. 5, No. 2, 147-172 (2004); C. Strange, �Hybrid history and the retrial of the painful past' Crime, Media, Culture, Vol. 2, No. 2, 197-215 (2006); Penelope Coutas, �Fame, Fortune, Fantasi: Indonesian Idol and the New Celebrity' Asian Journal of Communication, Volume 16 Issue 4 2006 , pages 371 � 392; Jack Z. Bratich, �Nothing Is Left Alone for Too Long' Journal of Communication Inquiry, Vol. 30, No. 1, 65-83 (2006); E. Ytreberg �Premeditations of performance in recent live television: A scripting approach to media production studies' European Journal of Cultural Studies, November 1, 2006; 9(4): 421 - 440. As principal author working with a geographer whose input related to the specifics of the way cultural studies had understood audiences in terms of method, Tincknell was responsible for identifying the critical framing and field-specific concerns addressed by the chapter.