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Apprentices to cool capitalism

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This article looks at the television series, The Apprentice, concentrating on the 2005 American edition and the 2007 British edition. The Apprentice is a game show that puts young business managers in competition with one another over several weeks. Every week someone is “fired”. The reward for the eventual winner is an executive job with Donald Trump in the USA or Alan Sugar in the United Kingdom in the respective national series. It is a popular entertainment programme that also evokes key ideological assumptions about how to be successful in business. This is inscribed in the way the competition is organised between teams and individuals, the weekly tasks set for the teams and the rewards for each week's winning team. The article is part of a larger project on “cool capitalism” and aims to illustrate its ideological features through close analysis of the discursive operations of The Apprentice.
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Keywords: cool capitalism; game show; ideological legitimation; narrative; reality television; survival of the fittest

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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