Nationalising the real : the cultural politics of reality TV in postcolonial Malaysia

PhD Thesis

Lin, Joanne Bee Yin 2009. Nationalising the real : the cultural politics of reality TV in postcolonial Malaysia. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Humanities and Social Sciences
AuthorsLin, Joanne Bee Yin
TypePhD Thesis

Reality TV is the most popular and controversial television genre in postcolonial Islamic Malaysia. With its origins in the West, the copying of reality programmes has heightened existing East-West struggles and magnified social, cultural and political concerns within society. Existing alongside the reality TV phenomenon are 'real' issues concerning multiculturalism, national identity, religious
fragmentation, racial tension, gender equality, and the suppression of human rights. Inevitably as a result of tight national security, surveillance and censorship, these 'real world' discourses get entwined in an alternative
entertainment form that claims to be 'real'.
This study explores the complex ways in which reality TV in Malaysia can be described as 'political' and poses questions about the role of reality programmes in the Malaysian public sphere. Furthermore, this study considers
the relationship between reality TV and ideas of nationalism in the context of globalisation and cultural change. It examines how reality programmes may be viewed as spaces of fantasy and (or) empowerment, which could then reveal the formation of new social, cultural, and national ideals.
Based on textual and discourse analysis, this study also engages with the Islamisation-liberalism dialectic manifested through reality TV. By looking at the reception of reality TV among Malaysians including notions of identification, performativity and transformation, this study attempts to construct a relatively new way of looking at the conflicts and contradictions embedded within the
Malaysian society. It makes an argument for the idea of a new Malaysian civilisation and the postcolonial nation's desperate attempt to be non-West.

Keywordspostcolonialism; Malaysia; reality television
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Publication process dates
Deposited28 May 2014
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