Date of Award

Spring 5-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Chair

Dr. Christopher Campbell

Committee Chair Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Member 2

Dr. Fei Xue

Committee Member 2 Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Member 3

Dr. Kim LeDuff

Committee Member 3 Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Member 4

Dr. Gene Wiggins

Committee Member 4 Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Committee Member 5

Dr. David R. Davies

Committee Member 5 Department

Mass Communication and Journalism

Abstract

This study examines the six original seasons of the reality television series The Apprentice as a postmodern, cultural artifact. Grounded in Burke’s (1967) “literature as equipment for living,” and Brummett’s (1984) consideration that televised content constitutes literature, the theory of “televised discourse as equipment for living” provided the guide to examine the series. Hall’s (1980) “reading against the grain” oppositional reading technique was utilized to interrogate both the manifest and latent content. The content of the series may indeed provide the audience with a guide to ideological beliefs of both commerce and culture, thereby creating a manufactured reality for its viewers. Discussions include the genre of reality television, marketing techniques that utilize modern sponsorship with product/brand placement, consumerism, social commentary, business discourse, and the mythos of the American Dream.

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