Reality TV and Its Audiences Reconsidered: Class and Poverty in Undercover Boss (CBS)

  • Tanja Aho


Tanja Aho offers a reparative reading of one of the longest-running reality television shows about class relations, CBS’s Undercover Boss. Basing her approach on audience engagement instead of the traditional hermeneutics of television studies, Aho provides a reading of Undercover Boss that attempts to hold reality television’s formal and class contradictions in tension. Following media and cultural studies scholars Simon Frith, Stuart Hall, Henry Jenkins, and Thomas McLaughlin, Aho provides a “low theory” of reality television that critiques the elision of systemic class exploitation through individualized paternalism and assesses the potential of social media as a site of meaning-making that can challenge and recenter neoliberal class relations.


Television Show Reality Television Reparative Reading Living Wage Protestant Work Ethic 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanja Aho
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.SUNYBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.Erlangen-NurembergErlangenGermany

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