The idea of the public sphere was created during the 1800’s by Jürgen Habermas whose “concept of the public sphere is realm within social life in which public opinion can be formed and which accessible to all.” The public sphere is the notion of democracy, by giving the general public a voice in a social environment and by deliberating and discussing ideas they may influence political action. The mediated public sphere is relatively the same, the only difference being that it is not exclusive to propertied white males as the public sphere was in the 1800’s.
Oh, Geordie Shore, without a doubt one of the more controversial reality television shows. For those of you who have not heard of it, the reality program follows the lives of ‘Geordies’, people from the Newcastle area of England. The show documents the lifestyles of the 9 housemates; a lifestyle which basically consists of drinking, clubs, sex, arguments and more drinking. Oh, and of course the fake tan!
The first season the show proved more popular than anticipated and the cast of the show has since expanded and travelled to countries throughout Europe, Mexico and even Australia. In fact, they filmed the entirety of Season 6 Down Under, where it is said to be the “No.1 show on MTV“. Thus far, they have filmed a total of 7 seasons with season 8 due to air later this year. During the very beginning the cast weren’t paid for the show, but since the show has risen in popularity they have been able to make careers out of a program most people would consider vulgar and trashy.
So what lead to the popularity of a show considered disgraceful by so many?
The answer is simple, we love nothing more than watching something so controversial and debatable. The show depicts the drinking culture present in today’s society as it follows the lives of young adults who are thought of as vain and arrogant.
The program contributes to the idea of the mediated public sphere because of the controversy it creates, this is evident through the amount of media they caused last year surrounding their time in Australia. It has added to debate by criticising promiscuity and excessive drinking amongst other things. An article in The Daily Telegraph is one example of the attention the show and cast received during their time in Australia. The somewhat disrespectful nature of the show ensures public debate, even amongst the locals of Newcastle who are ashamed of the way Geordies are regarded because of the program, stating that “these idiots embarrass us.” They even began a petition to cancel the show, an example of the influence the mediated public sphere can have.
With all this having been said I have something rather embarrassing to admit, I watch Geordie Shore religiously and find it ridiculously entertaining addictive. No judgement, please?
Clayman, S. E. 2004. Arenas of interaction in the mediated public sphere. Poetics, 32 (1), pp. 29–49.
Benson, R. 2001. The mediated public sphere: A model for cross-national research. Center for culture, organization and politics, Univ. of California, Berkeley, working paper.
Couriermail.com.au. 2014. No Cookies | The Courier-Mail. [online] Available at: http://www.couriermail.com.au/entertainment/television/geordie-shore-stars-caught-in-controversy-in-coogee-after-police-called/story-fncaks2k-1226613991416 [Accessed: 13 Apr 2014].
Mail Online. 2011. ‘These idiots embarrass us’: Anger in Newcastle as locals slam Geordie Shore after its first episode. [online] Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1391036/Geordie-Shore-slammed-angry-Newcastle-locals-embarrassing.html [Accessed: 13 Apr 2014].
Theaustralian.com.au. 2014. Cookies must be enabled. | The Australian. [online] Available at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/british-invasion-alert/story-e6frg6n6-1226639943430 [Accessed: 13 Apr 2014].
Under, B. 2013. Bucking ‘ell! Geordie Shore is heading Down Under. [online] Available at: http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/bucking-ell-geordie-shore-is-heading-down-under-20130226-2f3ml.html [Accessed: 13 Apr 2014].