Kraidy analyzes political and social impact of pan-Arab reality television in latest book

01 Oct 2009

Reality Television and Arab Politics: Contention in Public Life (Cambridge University Press, October 2009) is a new book by Marwan M. Kraidy, Ph.D., Arab media expert and Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication.

Based on a wealth of primary data collected from five years of extensive fieldwork, industry analysis and interviews with media professionals from several Arabic counties; Reality Television and Arab Politics begs the question: What does it mean to be modern outside the West? Featuring seven chapters dedicated to unpacking this question through in-depth analysis of the phenomenon in Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, Prof. Kraidy analyzes how reality television stirred an explosive mix of business, religion, politics, and sexuality, fueling heated polemics over cultural authenticity, gender relations, and political participation in the Arab world.

“This book was written with several kinds of readers in mind – people interested in global communication and media in Middle East, but also written as a series of thrillers interesting to the general educated reader,” said Prof. Kraidy, who examines several cases of how reality shows initially designed for entertainment purposes become platforms for regional political issues. “By looking at the controversies and anecdotes the book analyzes, we can understand how people define what ‘being modern’ is outside of the West.”

“This important book introduces a much needed internationally comparative dimension to the analysis of the global trade in reality television formats, as well as providing a detailed, nuanced, and exhaustively researched account of the production and consumption of reality TV in the Arab world,” said Graeme Turner, Professor at University of Queensland, Australia, and a Visiting Scholar at Annenberg in the Spring 2010 term.



Julie Sloane