Orginal Publication Date
Ethnic Studies Review
One of the longest running reality TV shows, with 15 seasons as of 2007, Survivor is an important text for considerations of race and ethnicity, legacies of imperialism, and the idea of the "multicultural" America. Survivor provides an evolving adventure narrative -one that relies upon the legacies of the past, like colonialism and imperialism, as well as the myths of the present and future, like tourism as a means of survival in a globalized economy. As these imperial contexts are adapted Survivor provides moments for (mostly white or white-identified) privileged, "multicultural" first-world Americans to participate in neo-colonial cultural and economic imperialism and cultural tourism - all from the comforts of our living rooms. While participation in American imperialism and televisual cultural tourism are certainly problematic, such participation can also be disruptive of simplistic notions of American culture, economics, politics, and identities and can tell us much about the ways in which ideas about race are "sold" by the show and interrupted and negotiated by its racialized contestants.
Copyright ©ESR, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 2008