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Turning trash into treasure

Descriptive

TitleInfo
Title
Turning trash into treasure
SubTitle
reality television, media governance and secondary markets
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Leavey
NamePart (type = given)
Sean T.
NamePart (type = date)
1974-
DisplayForm
Sean T. Leavey
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
author
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Marchi
NamePart (type = given)
Regina
DisplayForm
Regina Marchi
Affiliation
Advisory Committee
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
chair
Name (type = corporate)
NamePart
Rutgers University
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
degree grantor
Name (type = corporate)
NamePart
School of Graduate Studies
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RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
school
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Text
Genre (authority = marcgt)
theses
OriginInfo
DateCreated (qualifier = exact)
2018
DateOther (qualifier = exact); (type = degree)
2018-05
CopyrightDate (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact)
2018
Place
PlaceTerm (type = code)
xx
Language
LanguageTerm (authority = ISO639-2b); (type = code)
eng
Abstract (type = abstract)
In the wake of the Great Recession (2007-2009), a subgenre of reality television (RTV) surfaced that focused on buying and selling old and used things, largely antiques and collectibles, at auctions, pawn shops, flea markets and other secondary market sites. This subgenre, which I have termed Trash and Treasure TV, included programs such as American Pickers (2010- present), Storage Wars (2010-present) and Flea Market Flip (2012-present), and emerged at the exact moment when people needed to cope with the consequences of the financial downturn. Following media theorists Laurie Ouellette and James Hay, Trash and Treasure TV is positioned here as a technique of governmentality that provided viewers with “how-to guides” for learning to participate in the secondary market. This included modeling and direct instruction intended to teach audiences the cognitive and affective skills and practices necessary to be successful entrepreneurs. Given the dismantling of the welfare state and its social safety nets, RTV acted as a form of neoliberal governance meant to produce entrepreneurial subjects capable of navigating the contemporary economic landscape. Having gathered data from interviews with 44 secondary market participants, 75 hours of field observation, and a textual analysis of the initial seasons of the programs named above, my research is the first to combine interpretive and ethnographic methods to study this RTV subgenre. These methods revealed that although participants were critical of Trash and Treasure TV, they were also informed, inspired and entertained by the programs to varying degrees. I found that contrary to RTV’s “free market” portrayals, the local secondary market operated as a hierarchy in which those starting out with the most social and economic resources held a powerful competitive advantage over others. Additionally, the local marketplace did not exist in a vacuum, but within a post-Recession environment in which taste and consumption patterns had changed due to generational shifts. This diminished the value of objects and the prevalence of practices such as collecting. Significantly, I found that Trash and Treasure TV’s representation of secondary markets centered on the leisure activities and tastes of white, middle-class men trading in high-value objects. In turn, impoverished people, women, and other minoritized populations whom I observed buying and selling everyday items in the types of secondary market spaces depicted on the shows, were largely omitted. This allowed me to locate the limits of RTV as a technique of media governance in its inability to reach groups who were more concerned with survival than “treasure hunting.” Moreover, viewer-participants noted how an influx of newcomers inspired by these TV programs had been disruptive to markets rather than invigorating, which caused competition for objects to grow and prices to rise. Overall, using post-Recession New Jersey as a stage, this project examined the intersections of media culture, entrepreneurialism, material culture and economic precarity in the early 21st century.
Subject (authority = RUETD)
Topic
Communication, Information and Library Studies
Subject (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Reality television programs
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Title
Rutgers University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Identifier (type = RULIB)
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Identifier
ETD_8888
PhysicalDescription
Form (authority = gmd)
electronic resource
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application/pdf
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text/xml
Extent
1 online resource (vii, 194 p. : ill.)
Note (type = degree)
Ph.D.
Note (type = bibliography)
Includes bibliographical references
Note (type = statement of responsibility)
by Sean T. Leavey
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TitleInfo
Title
School of Graduate Studies Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Identifier (type = local)
rucore10001600001
Location
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NjNbRU
Identifier (type = doi)
doi:10.7282/T3WD441X
Genre (authority = ExL-Esploro)
ETD doctoral
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Rights

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The author owns the copyright to this work.
RightsHolder (type = personal)
Name
FamilyName
Leavey
GivenName
Sean
MiddleName
T.
Role
Copyright Holder
RightsEvent
Type
Permission or license
DateTime (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact); (point = start)
2018-04-13 13:18:49
AssociatedEntity
Name
Sean Leavey
Role
Copyright holder
Affiliation
Rutgers University. School of Graduate Studies
AssociatedObject
Type
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Author Agreement License
Detail
I hereby grant to the Rutgers University Libraries and to my school the non-exclusive right to archive, reproduce and distribute my thesis or dissertation, in whole or in part, and/or my abstract, in whole or in part, in and from an electronic format, subject to the release date subsequently stipulated in this submittal form and approved by my school. I represent and stipulate that the thesis or dissertation and its abstract are my original work, that they do not infringe or violate any rights of others, and that I make these grants as the sole owner of the rights to my thesis or dissertation and its abstract. I represent that I have obtained written permissions, when necessary, from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis or dissertation and will supply copies of such upon request by my school. I acknowledge that RU ETD and my school will not distribute my thesis or dissertation or its abstract if, in their reasonable judgment, they believe all such rights have not been secured. I acknowledge that I retain ownership rights to the copyright of my work. I also retain the right to use all or part of this thesis or dissertation in future works, such as articles or books.
Copyright
Status
Copyright protected
Availability
Status
Open
Reason
Permission or license
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