Reality television, politics, and democratization in the Arab world

Marwan M. Kraidy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


THE MOST POPULAR and controversial television programs in the Arab world are "reality" shows such as Super Star and Star Academy, broadcast by satellite to viewers from Morocco to Iraq. These shows claim to be live, nonscripted and therefore "real" and rely on audience participation in the form of voting for favorite contestants. In the wake of controversy triggered by Super Star and Star Academy, some observers have hailed reality television as a harbinger of democracy in the Arab world. This chapter explores the complex ways in which Arab reality television can be described as political and poses questions about the role of reality programs in the democratization of the pan- Arab public sphere. Based on fieldwork, textual analysis, and interviews with television producers and market researchers, this chapter concludes with preliminary observations on the political implications of Arab reality television.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNegotiating Democracy
Subtitle of host publicationMedia Transformations in Emerging Democracies
PublisherState University of New York Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780791472330
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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