On April 29th 2016, the research project B02 hosted a workshop titled "Global Emotions - Local Affects? The cultural Transformation of Entertainment Shows" at the Institute for Media and Communication Studies at FU Berlin.
News from May 02, 2016
The research project invited eight national and international Communication and Media Scientists to discuss the interplay and production of globally-circulating emotions and locally-produced affects in Reality TV formats. The workshop included both talks from the guests, presentations of results of the interviews with experts held by the research project, and an interactive discussion.
The workshop started with an introduction by Claudia Töpper to the central theoretical definitions of emotions and affects as well as the methods used within the project. Dr. Andrea Esser (University of Roehampton, London) followed with a skype-talk on multiple aspects of localization in TV format adaptations. She argued a critical understanding of ´national´ adaptations and pointed to specific demands of the particular station or broadcaster. "If Top Model in Germany was broadcasted on RTL, it would probably be less glamorously equipped". Afterwards, Dr. Daniel Klug (University of Basel) talked about the meaning of authenticity and authentification in scripted reality TV formats. "Thruthfulness" in those formats is suggested and produced by and within the performance of (seemingly) ´true´ emotions. Prof. Dr. Lothas Mikos (Filmuniversität Babelsberg Konrad Wolf, Potsdam) reported on storytelling and emotions in locally adapted reality TV shows and talked about local cultures of production. Thereby, he highlighted the relevance of a cultural rather than a geographical understanding of the concept of ´the local´. Glocalization as a transcultural formation of a place or location was discussed as a central concept to understanding global distribution of TV formats.
Finally, Laura Sūna introduced first results of the analysis of the interviews the project held with experts (producers and employees of particular reality TV formats). First, she dealt with processes of reality TV production and emphasized nationally/locally induced contexts for the adaptation of global reality TV formats. Global reality TV formats are a part of an affective economy, within which global format ideas and seemingly global concepts of emotions circulate. The formats´ local adaptation ensures the global format idea´s adaption and integration to the local repertoire of emotions of candidates and viewers.
Afterwards, Laura Sūna focussed on the production of emotions and affects in reality TV through the eyes of the producers, which becomes concrete by using the concept of emotion work. Producers seem to be emotionally involved in the production process on multiple levels. First, one can see a struggle with the own emotions towards the format, its candidates and its viewers. These types of emotion work are hardly recognized and mostly only proto-lingually communicated (laughing etc.). On the other hand, types of ´professional´ emotion work with protagonists and within the work on the TV text are recognized and talked about very clearly.
All in all, the workshop could feature an open and inspiring atmosphere and thereby contributed to a fruitful debate and reflection on the first research results as well as to an international networking.