Journeying with Jamie Oliver: masculinity, social entrepreneurialism and the politics of C4

Charlesworth, Diane (2011) Journeying with Jamie Oliver: masculinity, social entrepreneurialism and the politics of C4. In: Gender Politics and Reality Television Conference, 25th-27th August 2011, University College, Dublin. (Unpublished)

Full text not available from this repository.

Abstract

Channel Four in the last ten years through its commissioning strategies and partnerships has played an arguably central role in the debates about food production and management, health and the construction of state-of-the-nation-discourses. These have been articulated through a repertoire of masculinities personified by Heston Blumenthal, the ‘geek’ science enthusiast with a flair for the theatrical, Gordon Ramsey, the belligerent, bullish and bullying sergeant major, and Jamie Oliver; a combination of New Lad/New Dad. This paper looks at the latter, and his transformation over the length of the campaign documentaries made for Channel Four from television-personality-as-expert to television personality as personality [Bennett : 2008 & 2010] and the complex combinations of masculinities that underpin this mode of address. These programmes have been strongly imprinted by the dynamics and discourses of reality television, a genre no longer about representation, but about intervention; the medium as motivator and facilitator. It is argued that it is through this transformation that Oliver is able to move from programmes focused on food production to other fields of social concern – from school dinners as an institution to schools as institutions. The paper focuses on the role of Oliver in Jamie’s Dream School [2011], as project leader, mediator, teacher, friend, peer, participant and [omniscient] narrator/observer. The social entrepreneur, 21st century philanthropist discourses that are apparent in Oliver’s construction were well placed in relation to New Labour notions of collaborative governance and are arguably no less tuneable to the concerns of the Conservative Big Society. It is the contention of the paper that the use and development of Oliver on screen from Jamie’s Kitchen [2002] to Jamie’s Dream School [2011] is reflective of and key to Channel Four’s branding strategy and policy direction in this period, in attempting to find its home in a shifting television economy and with media politics in flux.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:Channel Four in the last ten years through its commissioning strategies and partnerships has played an arguably central role in the debates about food production and management, health and the construction of state-of-the-nation-discourses. These have been articulated through a repertoire of masculinities personified by Heston Blumenthal, the ‘geek’ science enthusiast with a flair for the theatrical, Gordon Ramsey, the belligerent, bullish and bullying sergeant major, and Jamie Oliver; a combination of New Lad/New Dad. This paper looks at the latter, and his transformation over the length of the campaign documentaries made for Channel Four from television-personality-as-expert to television personality as personality [Bennett : 2008 & 2010] and the complex combinations of masculinities that underpin this mode of address. These programmes have been strongly imprinted by the dynamics and discourses of reality television, a genre no longer about representation, but about intervention; the medium as motivator and facilitator. It is argued that it is through this transformation that Oliver is able to move from programmes focused on food production to other fields of social concern – from school dinners as an institution to schools as institutions. The paper focuses on the role of Oliver in Jamie’s Dream School [2011], as project leader, mediator, teacher, friend, peer, participant and [omniscient] narrator/observer. The social entrepreneur, 21st century philanthropist discourses that are apparent in Oliver’s construction were well placed in relation to New Labour notions of collaborative governance and are arguably no less tuneable to the concerns of the Conservative Big Society. It is the contention of the paper that the use and development of Oliver on screen from Jamie’s Kitchen [2002] to Jamie’s Dream School [2011] is reflective of and key to Channel Four’s branding strategy and policy direction in this period, in attempting to find its home in a shifting television economy and with media politics in flux.
Keywords:Oliver, Channel 4, masculinity, social entrepreneurship, state-of-the-nation discourses
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P300 Media studies
P Mass Communications and Documentation > P311 Television Production
L Social studies > L320 Gender studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Media
ID Code:5890
Deposited By: Diane Charlesworth
Deposited On:19 Jun 2012 20:58
Last Modified:17 Jul 2014 10:21

Repository Staff Only: item control page