Illusive Pluralism and Hegemonic Identity in Popular Reality Shows in Israel

by Nelly Elias Ben (Gurion University) and Amal Jamal Tel-Aviv (University Orly Soker Sapir Academic College)

The present study aims to examine the pluralistic potential of reality shows, which might allow minorities to shape the program’s script and to gain recognition for their particularistic identities. For this purpose, two prime-time reality shows were chosen— The Ambassador and Seeking a Leader—broadcast in Israel in 2005. The analysis of the programs included identification and deconstruction of their metanarratives and exposure of several mechanisms of stigmatization and othering used against minorities. In addition, the authors analyzed the tactics utilized by minorities to maneuver the script and steps taken by the majority to maintain its cultural dominance. The research reveals that the ostensibly pluralistic nature of reality shows is limited a priori by the hegemonic forces. Although the hegemonic discourse in reality shows is highly sophis- ticated and disguised, the sense of equality and pluralism that these programs inspire constitutes an even more powerful mechanism of exclusion and cultural domination.(download lengkap)