Holohan, S (2012) '"We're a Very Normal Family": Representing the Mundane in Channel 4's The Family'. Media, Culture and Society, 34 (1). pp. 21-35. ISSN 1460-3675

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In 1974 Paul Watson’s The Family pioneered the ‘fly-on-the-wall’ technique to build a picture of family life that also exposed inequalities contained in British society. Today, film-maker Jonathan Smith, has updated this format using technologies usually found in reality programming to focus on the mundane practices of family life, in Channel 4’s The Family (2008). However, instead of the meta-narratives of class, race and gender divisions, displayed in the 1970s documentary, today’s version appears to have been stripped of politics. In this article I argue it is problematic that family representation is solely concerned with the minutiae of everyday life. Arguing that The Family simply became another form of display for the participants of a reality documentary, I consider the possibility that we have seen the end of the sociological imagination in factual film-making and attempt to find responses to this dilemma in current social theory.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Sage Publications at http://doi.org/10.1177%2F0163443711427197 - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: documentary, The Family, mundane, reality TV, sociology of families, technologies of intimacy
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2019 14:18
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2019 14:18
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/5988

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