• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

“An outstanding intervention in contemporary debates about the emancipatory potential of the new media landscape. While “power to the people” may be the rallying cry in an age of blogging, Web 2.0 interactivity, and reality TV, Turner cautions against confusing the “demotic” with democracy…Ordinary People and the Media is required reading for students and scholars navigating the shifting terrain of media and cultural studies.”

— Serra Tinic, University of Alberta, Canada

The ‘demotic turn’ is a term coined by Graeme Turner to describe the increasing visibility of the ‘ordinary person’ in the media today.

In this dynamic and insightful book he explores the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of the ‘everyday’ individual's willingness to turn themselves into media content through:

  • Celebrity culture
  • Reality TV
  • DIY websites
  • Talk radio
  • User-generated materials online

Analyzing the pervasiveness of celebrity culture, this book further develops the idea of the demotic turn as a means of examining the common elements in a range of ‘hot spots’ within media and cultural studies today.

Refuting the proposition that the demotic turn necessarily carries with it a democratizing politics, this book examines its political and cultural function in media production and consumption across many fields – including print and electronic news, current affairs journalism, and citizen and online journalism.

It examines these fields in order to outline a structural shift in what the western media has been doing lately, and to suggest that these media activities represent something much more fundamental than contemporary media fashion.

Introduction: The Demotic Turn
Introduction: The demotic turn

[demotic (adjective): ‘of or for the common people’]

It has become commonplace to notice the increasing number of opportunities for ordinary people to appear in the media. From the vox pops in news bulletins to the celebrity that comes with participation in reality TV, from calling up your local talk radio host to competing for stardom in Idol, from posting your favourite images on Facebook to becoming one of the notorious Web ‘cam-girls’ – the possibilities of media visibility seem endless. The causes are many: the pervasiveness of celebrity shifts in television from drama to ‘live’ formats, and the interactivity of Web 2.0, among them. The ordinary citizen's access to a media profile that was unavailable before the digital ...

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