The “Ordinary” on Commercial Radio and TV: A Reception Analysis of the Subject Position of Ordinary People in the Participatory Programs Recht van Antwoord and Zwart of Wit
In this article, the authors examine the articulation of the subject position ordinary people by analyzing focus group discussions on 2 North Belgian commercial (semi-) participatory programs: the radio talk show “Black or White” (Zwart of Wit) and the TV audience discussion program “Right of Answer” (Recht van Antwoord). The authors' main objectives are to develop a theoretical framework that does justice to the fluidity of the subject position “ordinary people” and to show how the relationist nature of its construction works within the reception of 2 specific talk shows. For this reason, the authors first discuss different theoretical models that deal with the everyday and the ordinary. Then, through the reception study, they identify 2 relationist discourses that articulate the complex and multilayered subject position of ordinary people. The subject position of ordinary people is first defined through a negative relation with societal elites. Second, the authors use a lower class-based definition (creating a negative relation with the middle and upper classes). They conclude by arguing that these 2 relationist discourses are structural limitations for the participatory process, transforming the ordinary into ordinariness.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Communication Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
Publication date: 2011-01-01