Televisual experiences of poverty and abundance: Entertainment television in the Philippines

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Journal of Anthropology, 2018, 29, (1), pp. 3-18
Issue Date:
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This paper draws from ethnographic research on entertainment television in the Philippines, in which poverty, suffering, abundance and joy are materialised and enacted as central themes. Examples are considered from a particularly successful Philippine television program, Eat Bulaga, in which audience members compete to win prizes of cash, bank accounts, feasts, appliances or vehicles. While the production of this television program creates a wider, mediated representation of poverty and abundance, suffering and joy, the paper focuses on the practices and experiences of the people – including production staff and audience members - whose participation in the making of this television program is a materially, and at times spiritually, transformative event. In doing so, Eat Bulaga consolidates and remediates a large market of television audiences whose self-understanding incorporates the mass consumption of particular goods as being central to the Philippine experience of poverty-in-modernity.
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