Simulating the public sphere.
In: Austin, T. and de Jong, W., eds.
Rethinking Documentary: New Perspectives and Practices.
McGraw Hill, pp. 246-257.
Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/8368
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Publisher's URL: http://www.mcgraw-hill.co.uk/html/0335221912.html
In this chapter I argue that formatted reality television game shows like Big Brother (Channel 4 2000 - ) and popular TV documentary formats like Wife Swap (Channel Four 2002 -) and Faking It (Channel Four 1999 -) might be best understood as simulations. In these programmes we see the dominant observational traditions of documentary being redeployed as part of a different system of representation based on simulation. By simulation I refer to that process in which dynamic models are observed in order to generate understanding of complex processes. This definition is derived from, amongst others, the research methods of natural science, social science, military planning and financial forecasting all of which depend increasingly on building models to understand complex systems.
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