Cultural oxymora: The Israeli idol negotiates meanings and readings

  • Neiger M
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Abstract

This article provides a close reading of the Israeli version of the Idol format. Using the concept “cultural oxymora,” contradictions that serve to negotiate meanings, the analysis examines the case through six lenses: pluralism (stressing the institutionalized pluralism by auditioning in Israeli and Jewish communities outside the country), performance (songs that are associated with the Jewish State’s bereavement rituals while adding a counterhegemonic vocal presentation), patriotism (nationalism and the military in the transnational format), periphery (exposing its ethnic richness while using stereotypes), participation (manufacturing consumers’ “democratic” election), and promotion (national media event of coronation with ordinary characteristics). The conclusions suggest that cultural oxymora may explain the appeal of reality TV since they support a complex inclusive interpretation of the shows that maintain a dialogue between neo-Marxist readings, emphasizing a critical view on the show’s commercial-hegemonic structure, on one hand, and reception-centered readings, stressing audiences’ gratifications and pleasures, on the other.

Author-supplied keywords

  • glocalization
  • idol
  • political economy
  • popular culture
  • reality TV

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Authors

  • Motti Neiger

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