This book explores the emergence and encouragement of the new narcissus in our society and the ways in which this is portrayed in reality television. Through studies of well-known reality shows, including Toddlers and Tiaras, Hoarders, Sister Wives, Catfish: The TV Show, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew and The Real Housewives, the author examines the combined effects of narcissism and consumerism, shedding light on the ways in which people are pushed to focus on their own biographies and self-promotion to the point of creating a false self within the individual and the development of a sense of dissatisfaction, dis-ease and unhappiness.
Applying Freud’s concept of narcissism and tracing it through the work of key social theorists including Durkheim, Lasch, Goffman, Riesman, Baudrillard and Giddens, The New Narcissus in the Age of Reality Television constitutes an insightful analysis of the modern ideology of greatness, perfection or ‘being the best’, that permeates society – an ideology that overwhelms and ultimately drives the individual to dissemble and project an artificial self. A compelling argument for the importance of understanding the persistence of a powerful and dangerous trait in modern society, this book will appeal to scholars of sociology, social theory and cultural and media studies with interests in reality television, celebrity culture and modern narcissism.
Table of Contents
List of Figures
Series Editor’s Preface
1. Introducing the New Narcissus
2. Learning the Importance of Falseness: Toddlers and Tiaras
3. Consequence of Believing the Lie: Hoarders
4. The Ease of Falseness: Sister Wives
5. Avoiding Reality: Catfish: The TV Show
6. Experts of Falseness: Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew
7. The New Narcissus Goes Global: The Real Housewives
8. Entranced by the New Narcissus’ Reflection Gazing Back at Us
Megan Collins is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Prairie View A&M University, USA.