Marwan Kraidy. Reality Television and Arab Politics: Contention in Public Life
New York: Cambridge university Press, 2010. 252 pages. Paper $24.00
In this book, Marwan Kraidy cross-cuts the long-held dichotomy between politics, which has been traditionally confined to the realm of news and so-called "serious" talk shows, and entertainment, which has been traditionally confined to whatever is perceived as "fun," or even "simplistic." Kraidy's book reveals that, far from being "simplistic," entertainment content on Arab TV screens, such as reality TV shows, is loaded with complex cultural, social, religious, and political connotations, symbols, and even conflicts, which pose the challenge of what it means to be an "Arab" in the modern world, as well as what it means to be "modern" in the Arab world simultaneously.
Through a deep and rich ethnographic exploration of the controversies that erupted around some of the most popular reality TV shows in the Arab world, such as Star Academy, Superstar, and al-Ra'is (the Arabic version...