In Serbia, reality television programmes came to life with “Big Brother“, an invention of Dutchman “John“ de Mol, initiated as a kind of experiment that was inspired by contemporary artists’ research into how police and security services use video cameras. This resulted in creation of a space in which everyone comes to be seen and to see others. In the meantime, many circumstances have changed, both globally and in Serbia, so after “Big Brother”, the reality television programmes in our country have evolved considerably and have taken forms that fall outside the reality, adopting a wide range of mostly negative influences from different spheres of society. To what extenth as television, with its displaying of various forms of non-culture and kitsch through television broadcasts and shows, exerted its influence that such a stunning transformation of this form of reality TV has occurred? And does it mean that an unfortunate bare picture of the overall social situation in the country and the far-reaching goals of certain structures underlie these negative enough influences? By bringing small states into an economically dependent position, the great powers not only considerably shape their economic policy but also indirectly influence the formation of other segments of society that emerge or that are in some way connected with their emerging economies. One of these segments is culture, and its spread is achieved through cultural globalization which breaks down cultural barriers.However, at the same time, it distorts and shapes the cultural identity of a particular society according to its own needs. Although the well known Latin maxim of “bread and games” (panem et circenses) can be applied to reality television programmes, their negative effects extend much deeper and can affect different segments of society. This danger has become real with the development of the society itself, but also with the unpredictable and elusive movements of globalization, the consequences of which can be felt at national level, even on a smaller sample of reality television programmes. The hierarchy, which was vertical in the “global” reality (directed by the global towards the national leaders), becomes horizontal within a nation, thanks to the reality television programmes (leaders are drowning and concealing their roles behind the screened absurdity, and the reality itself becomes a means to certain ends). If we exclude psychotherapeutic effect, which in some sense cannot be denied, the reality TV sends a not at all naïve message, with potentially harmful effects on its viewers.
This paper deals with presence and topicality of reality shows in the world of global media and with popularity of micro-stars as “newly composed cultural models” whose provocative and aggressive behaviour spills over from reality into everyday life. A question is raised whether reality programmes represent just another in a series of harmless pastimes of the global audiences, or whether they are a danger to the post-modern society, a kind of manipulation, a media opiate?The market orientation of the global society has led to a pursuit of light entertainment products. Commercialization of the news programmes is entertaining according to the infotainment; emergence of a new genre of advertainment combines advertising and entertainment in various media content. Although television is not omnipotent in the global society, it still has a strong impact on the audiences obsessed with technology and screen images that have endangered other types of expressing people’s thoughts and feelings. Rapid technological development has opened the door to a new way of gaining fame and popularity, leading to the so-called celebritization of ordinary people. Numerous public controversies regarding broadcasting of such content range from those who perceive reality shows as distorted real-life events by portraying them as plays rather than real events, to those exploring the educational level of the media content or portraying everything as a fun contest. Is it the matter of the viewers’ voyeurism and exhibitionism of the programme participants? What is the level of interaction between the two categories? Are the viewers really enchanted by such media content to the point that they can easily and quickly identify themselves with the participants of a reality show? Do these programmes adversely affect people’s behaviour or do they represent an escape from the harsh everyday life and social injustice? Although the critical public points to the suppression of the freedom of thought, to the inhumane treatment of the participants, toying with their emotions and manipulation with contestants’ profiles, most viewers still refer to this television genre a sharmless entertainment. That a part of the public in Serbia perceives them as a flood of ignorance, immorality and aggression is evidenced by the collected citizens’ signatures in support of the proposal of the Lawon restriction of reality programmes, because they promote violence,hate speech and pornography
Reality shows are mirrors of spiritual metamorphosis of our civilization.The text summarizes historical conditions, ideas and ideologies which have, more or less indirectly, shaped the contemporary mass culture and reality programmes as its specific segment. It also raises the question of responsibility of intellectuals in such course of events and particularly their responsibility in the process of erasing clear lines that separate elite and popular culture. Defining culture as human activity in general, without valuing it, has significantly contributed to creating an illusion of its democratic nature. This paper particularly emphasizes the character of contemporary civilization as a civilization of/without death, thus interpreting, along the same lines, the symbolic level of reality programmes.
In an attempt to thoroughly observe the phenomenon of reality programmes in Serbia, we point to the current fusion of the small town spirit and the most pervasive political-media installations of the criminal-familiaristic Balkan neoliberalism. Today, global industry aims to entertain the individual to the point of political and other lethargy, and thus the function of various series and TV programmes (reality shows) is primarily entertaining. With the overall degradation of education, science and culture, we have witnessed a weakening of the critical apparatus and lowering of tolerance. Thus, every kind of content, however banal or bad, finds its audience needing no rebellion,since its attention is very cunningly focused on marginal topics.Insisting on trivial issues on a broader scale results in political apathy and general disinterest in issues of broader interest.
The style of expression in various media is a particular field of scientific research. Clarity of style implies that expressions appropriately convey certain information, but in reality programmes there are no essential facts that need to be expressed clearly. This implies the possibility of impairing the clarity of style and the use of a non-public lexical stock,such as vulgarisms. The increasing use of vulgarisms is evident in the reality programmes of Zadruga and Parovi, which are aired on the two Serbian commercial television stations with national frequency with the highest viewership, ratings and the longest daily and annual broadcasting times. Exploring the role of vulgarism in these shows provides a deeper insight into the editorial policies, discursive rules and creative freedoms of those who decide what is said and how it is said in the media. In this paper, a comparative study of the two most viewed reality programmes was made and several certainties regarding vulgarisms occurring on one or the other programme were highlighted,with a contextual review of the social, moral and creative role of expression in the reality programmes.
Due to great success they have achieved, reality TV programmes have been subject of public debates in Serbia, regarding their social, cultural and political implications for the society. For the first time, psychological crises, violence, pornography, examples of fleeting fame and failure can be seen on live television, as experiences associated with real, human stories. Although a significant part of the public criticizes such content for being marketed in the media space, the subject of these discussions is not only aesthetical but also political, because the decision-makers have different views on the issue of ethical responsibility. Caused by the lack of political will and by the hindered ability to control the content that is publicly aired, the basic dilemma refers to the extent to which such content reflects the idea of media freedoms, i.e. to which extent they cross the ethical, aesthetical and legal-regulatory boundaries. The paper argues that the phenomenon of reality programmes in Serbia should not be viewed outside the economic framework in which they were created and in which they are being developed. Thus, it is argued that the genre of programming is part of a broader tendency to transform the media space into a field of entertainment, which facilitates the commodification of the entire sphere of the media.Through a historical-comparative analysis of the development of reality programmes in Serbia, a critical analysis is given of their content and standards governing the media space, the problem of the ethics of the economic model in relation to which this media format is organized. Furthermore, the paper examines the specifics of reality programmes produced and broadcast in the Serbian media space, considering that the basic ethical task of the media is to recognize and present reality in a socially responsible manner, respecting human dignity and human rights. The content and form of the aforementioned reality series are linked to specific financing models, public-private relations and working conditions in Serbia. Understanding the correlation of these elements with the neoliberal approach in shaping the socio-economic environment, is the fundamental objective of this paper.
This paper provides an analysis of cultural, psychological and communication patterns that could be used to explain popularity and receptivity of the audiences that consume reality programmes. These programmes have started broadcasting in 2006, through the format of Big Brother. They have gained great popularity since then, and the number of viewers has not decreased. In order to better understand the phenomenology of reality programmes, closely analysed their characteristics, especially concerning their format, both the selection and characteristics of reality programme participants, the dramaturgy and the wider social context these shows are realized in. The authors are dealing with specific characteristics of this television form,communication processes that lead to the desired “outcomes” necessary for increasing the viewership, by tendentiously directed roles and behaviour patterns (conflict, sexual content) as well as with possible psychological perspectives that could, to a certain extent, explain the motivation of the audience to engage in the consumption of such content (watching the content, commenting on social networks, voting, favouring certain participants). Some of the psychological explanations for the popularity of such programmes could be found in the high level of identification with the participants who externalize most intimate contents of their inner worlds, and also in the complete equalization of the private and public sphere, as well as in the analytical concept of a Shadow that is related to the inferior and in acceptable parts of the human nature. Our Ego recognizes such content as “someone else’s”and connects it more frequently with the behaviour of others than with our own behaviour. Very often, the bearers of those projections are representatives of the so-called marginal groups, therefore the selected participants of reality shows “provide” the space for Shadow projection.Finally, we analysed the wider social context suitable to sustain and„nourish” this form of public discourse. This is actually a relational and contextual question that opens a space for understanding of the needs that underlie the collective dipping into naked privacy and primary processes of the group that we observe through reality programmes.
Today, one can speak more about how reality shows are made and how they are maintained, about their chameleon perspective and their own view inwards and outwards. And it is only there that an answer to the question of where reality TV begins and where it can end can be sought. Reality TV involves a special creative uncertainty and a certain moral decay. Reality shows also involve a matter of choice: who will participate, how will they react, who will watch and evaluate the reality of the reality show and the conditions that have led to it? In reality programmes, things are always viewed from the reduced and stripped point of view of the organizer. Have fun and make money. If the rhetorical points of view that affect different perspectives of reality shows are properly considered, the effect is, in the end, always in the political field.
The author starts from a hypothesis that the contemporary understanding of live broadcasting as a special argument of objectivity should not be explained by the assumption that the public is insufficiently informed about the existence of media manipulation and its possibilities, but by the general need to find strong foundations of the real, which, faced with almost hopeless search, resists any rationality. In the age of the destabilized real, reality becomes fully absorbed not only by the real but also by the constructed events. In the text, a paradigmatic manifestation of this process is recognized in the rise of reality programmes. The reality of reality programmes is actually the reality of constructing events that annihilate reality itself – which could be called a negative reality. In spite of the fact that this is an unauthentic or constructed reality, by occupying the space of the real, its rendering in the text is identified with the process of demiurgic creation, and the media industry is identified as a kind of demiurge of the new so-called media age. The depersonalization and industrial foundations of this contemporary demiurge are viewed in regard to the development of the vision of unauthentic living, and with the emergence of negative reality that erodes the very space of the real.