Real Fantasy

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 10:00 AM
Room: Booth 43
Distributed Paper
Silvia VIANA , EAESP - FGV, São Paulo, Brazil
Real fantasy

As new format of the cultural industry, reality shows are usually approached from two opposite and irreconcilable views. Sometimes they are taken as a sham, ie, programs that falsify reality by pretending to reproduce it. Otherwise, they are considered the immediate exhibition of Real (in the Lacanian sense of the term) – in this case, these programs would be a kind of window that opens to the display of objects beyond the symbolic field, such as violence and intimacy. Either thinking of them as a fake, or approaching them as attractive or generator of perverse pulse – therefore, as an exceptional phenomenon –,  both perspectives tend to isolate the show from the society that forged it. The purpose of this paper is to present a third perspective that takes into account the world that such format is fed and which returns as mirroring: the flexible accumulation capitalism. From this perspective, it is possible to think of reality shows as a reproduction, not of the Real, but the reality itself, understood as the fantasy that ties our daily practices. Our hypothesis is that such programs take the form of social structure to organize practices such as surveillance, selection or evaluation of performance, all central devices for labor control in contemporary capitalist enterprise. The shift in the television format approach allows us to understand, at the same time, the new organization of the cultural industry – also looking for flexibility – as well as a cultural production incapable of achieving any form of transcendence.