Religion and Reality TV

Faith in Late Capitalism

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Mara Einstein, Diane Winston, Katherine Madden
  • New York, NY: 
    , April
     210 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Kathryn Reklis forthcoming.


Why is reality television flourishing in today's expanding media market? Religion and Reality TV: Faith in Late Capitalism argues that the reality genre offers answers to many of life's urgent questions: Why am I important? What gives my life meaning? How do I present my best self to the world? Case studies address these questions by examining religious representations through late capitalist lenses, including the maintenance of the self, the commodification of the sacred, and the performance of authenticity. The book's fourteen essays explore why religious themes proliferate in reality TV, audiences' fascination with "lived religion," and the economics that make religion and reality TV a successful pairing. Chapters also consider the role of race, gender, and religion in the production and reception of programming.

Religion and Reality TV provides a framework for understanding the intersection of celebrity, media attention, beliefs, and values. The book will be of interest to students and scholars of religion and media studies, communication, American studies, and popular culture.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Mara Einstein is Professor of Media Studies at Queens College, CUNY, and Director of the Masters program in Media and Social Justice.

Katherine Madden teaches media studies at Jesuit High School in Sacramento, California. 

Diane Winston holds the Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

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