Reel Politics: Reality Television as a Platform for Political Discourse

International Reality Television Conference
Location: Kadir Has University, Istanbul, TURKEY
Date: September 12, 2008 – September 14, 2008


When Survivor: Cook Islands (2006) in the United States premiered as a contest between races, discussions regarding racial inequality and how Survivor would reinforce or challenge racial stereotypes inevitably followed. The examples concerning how reality television may trigger political discussions are not limited to Survivor: Cook Islands. The place of reality television in the contemporary political discourses followed a variety of reality shows, such as Big Brother (surveillance and privacy), Beauty and the Geek (gender inequality and stereotypes), The Real World (religion, gender and homosexuality), American Idol (voting patterns), and The Apprentice (American dream).

Reality TV indeed is an international phenomenon. We have completed collecting and evaluating papers from scholars from literally all over the world, discussing reality programs' role as a platform for political debate. Our presenters will be coming from Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Lebanon, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.

The presentations will be organized around several thematic sessions:

  • Convergences and Divergences: Reality Television & Factual Programming
  • Neoliberal Politics and the Labor of Real
  • Audience Reception and Discussion of Daily Politics
  • "Democratization", Participation and Reality Television
  • Reality Programs as Social Projects
  • Reality of Ethics & Values
  • Crosscultural Identity & Politics
  • Racial Politics and Reality Television
  • Gendered Reality

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

  • Dr. Annette Hill (Professor, University of Westminster): "Reality TV as a Feral Genre"
  • Dr. Mark Andrejevic (Associate Professor, University of Iowa): "Poll Stars: Critiquing the Reality TV Version of Democracy"
  • Dr. Marwan M. Kraidy (Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania): "Idiom of Contention: Reality TV and Arab Politics"


Conference Location:

The conference will be held in Kadir Has University, Main (Cibali) Campus. The campus is located in Golden Horn and within a 1.5 mile radius of historic center city Istanbul. 

All presentations will be held in Cibali Salon (Cibali Conference Room) in B-Block.

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 Conference Poster
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Conference Program

Conference Registration

Call for Papers

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  • (8/26/08) Updates and Information Regarding Conference Location within Campus, Registration, Bosphorus Boat Tour for September 13 (click here).
  • (07/21/08) Conference
    Poster is added to webpage
  • (04/23/08) Conference Program is now Online 
  • (03/10/08) Deadline for Papers Has Passed
  • (03/02/08) Received Funding for Conference Promotion
  • (12/02/07) Call for Papers is Now Online
  • (11/17/07) Keynote speakers are confirmed 




The conference is partly sponsored by: