Ethno-Class Distinctions and Reality (TV)

Avihu Shoshana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This article offers a cultural-sociological analysis of interpretations by viewers from different classes on the most popular reality show in Israel, namely, Big Brother. The findings of this study show dramatic differences in viewing practices according to class and ethnic distinctions of the viewers. Viewers from the upper socioeconomic class primarily addressed the way in which the subjects from the low socioeconomic class and marked ethnic groups appear in their eyes: that is, the processes affiliated with Othering. These ethno-class distinctions were translated into unique viewing practices: the identification of what are called, "cult moments" or "grotesque moments." These moments are depicted as ridiculing the "exaggerated" behavior of members of the low socioeconomic class and specific ethnic groups. Viewers from the low socioeconomic class offer more imminent (and less distant) perspectives on the Big Brother program. They relate to a broad spectrum of content that was broadcast in the program, identify with the participants from their group, criticize the judgments and the cultural hierarchies of marked group members, and describe how political anger accompanies their viewing of the reality program. The discussion section suggests the connection of these subjective interpretations and widespread cultural scenarios about class and ethnic identities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-71
Number of pages19
JournalSociological Forum
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Eastern Sociological Society.


  • Class and class-making
  • Distinction
  • Emotions
  • Ethnicity
  • Media
  • Reality TV


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