Lifestyling Asia? Shaping modernity and selfhood on life-advice programming

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Journal Article
International Journal of Cultural Studies, 2012, 15 (6), pp. 537 - 566
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This article discusses the early findings of a research project examining the role of lifestyle television in Asia. Life-advice programming in East Asia includes a range of 'popular factual' formats from cooking and health shows to makeover and consumer advice shows. A growing body of Anglo-American scholarship emphasizes the cultural importance of lifestyle programming, suggesting that the explosion of lifestyle formats at this particular cultural-historical moment connects to broader transformations in western neoliberal states, especially the rise of individualized, consumer-based models of identity and citizenship. Focusing on Singapore, China and Taiwan, this article offers a discussion of the potential of such arguments in these contexts, in light of our findings about the forms of life-advice programming prevalent in these three television industries. In particular, it explores the relevance (or not) of Anglo-American theories of neoliberal selfhood in these sites as read through the lens of lifestyle television. © The Author(s) 2012.
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