That shadowy realm of the interior: Oprah winfrey and hamlets glass

Eva Illouz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In a way that is reminiscent of the 19th-century campaigns against popular recreations, talk shows have come to the spotlight of public debate and have raised considerable concern about their alleged thirst for sensationalism and shock value. The purpose of this paper is to address a simple question, obfuscated by the public outrage that is ritually poured over talk shows: what are talk shows about? What makes them such a popular cultural form? What segment of the contemporary imagination do they capture? Conversely, what makes talk shows the target for the elite outcry that they cheapen and threaten cultural values? In this paper I argue that the cultural appeal of talk shows resides in the fact that they make sense of the profound transformations of the family in the late modern era and that they stage "informal courtrooms" to adjudicate between the struggles that increasingly make up contemporary everyday life

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)109-131
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Debate
  • Dispute
  • Emotions
  • Individualization
  • Late modernity
  • Liberalism
  • Privacy
  • Public sphereSself
  • Talk shows


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