Geoffrey Craig, CCCE Visiting Scholar
March 12, 2009
Noon to 1:30 p.m.
CMU 126

This colloquium investigates the “eco-makeover” lifestyle television genre through an analysis of the New Zealand program, WA$TED. The program involves an environmental audit of selected families and demonstrates how they could save money by minimizing energy use and reducing their carbon footprint. The presentation discusses the significance of the “ordinariness” of lifestyle television, its domestic focus, and the nature of the expertise of the program hosts and associated presenters.

It also talks about the environmental and political significance of the rise of the “eco-makeover” genre and locates it within the more generalized prevalence of “makeovers” in lifestyle television. The analysis focuses on the moments of revelation, or epiphanies, that represent the climax of makeovers in lifestyle television.

Drawing on Latour’s actor-network theory, the presentation argues that the everyday epiphanies in WA$TED function through the revelation of the linkages between individual families, their everyday objects and practices, and the broader socioeconomic-environmental domain.

Geoffrey Craig teaches in the Politics Department at the University of Otago and he was previously the Mass Communication program chair at Murdoch University in Western Australia. In addition to his research interest in environmental communication he also conducts research on media and politics, and particularly media interviews and leaders’ debates. He is the author of The Media, Politics and Public Life (Allen & Unwin 2004) and the co-author of Slow Living (Berg and UNSW Press 2006). He is also the co-editor of a forthcoming study of media coverage of the 2008 New Zealand election.