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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

SLSP5370M Reality TV: Truth or Fiction?

30 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Dr Kim Allen

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

On completion of this module students will be able to: Whilst many of the examples used will concern western culture, these examples will be used critically in relation to international cultures. It will enable students to apply the approaches outlined above to a Lifestyle or Reality Television programme of their choice from an international context familiar to them; to show how it reflects, challenges or reproduces the key social and cultural values of its national context.


This module aims to imbue students with the mastery of high level social science skills to assess and evaluate the popular genres of Lifestyle and Reality Television. Enabling students to critically apply this expertise to a specific national context, genre or social formation.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

- demonstrate an understanding of and critical engagement with the key theoretical and critical debates within social science concerning Reality and Lifestyle Television
- analyse and evaluate different theories, definitions and forms of Reality and Lifestyle Television
- relate theories of identity to media analysis
- critically engage with the main methodologies of social science appropriate to the study of Reality and Lifestyle Television and evaluate the strengths and limitations of different conceptual frameworks
- demonstrate a mastery of the key texts from the field of the social science concerned with Reality and Lifestyle Television


TV formats such as The Apprentice, Big Brother, The Swan, America’s Next Top Model, Keeping Up with the Kardashians and The X-Factor have been exported globally and take on particular flavours in different national settings. In this module students will identify and analyse the similarities and differences between ‘Lifestyle’ and ‘Reality’ TV exploring their production, representation and consumption; How television intervenes into the social, specifically in social divisions / inequalities/ identities in relation to class/ gender/ race/ nationhood/ disability; Lifestyle TV (e.g. homes and gardens shows) consumption practices, taste and distinction; The construction of the nation and citizenship through participant/ contestant selection; ‘Makeover culture’, gender, disability and the body; Reality contestants, the role of ‘character’ and the ‘especially remarkable’; Celebrities and ritual humiliation; Shaming moments and audience empathies; Can reality TV be political or oppositional?; Globalising Lifestyle and Reality TV.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning112.0022.00
Private study hours265.00
Total Contact hours35.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

Preparation for lectures, tutorials and assessment.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will be able to submit a short (1,500 max) formative version of their final assessment

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4,000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:30:03


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