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The media construction of family history: An analysis of “Who do you think you are?”

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-09-27, 10:16 authored by Peter Lunt
Genealogy, once a specialized research practice, is increasingly a common social practice enabled by digitization and cultural intermediaries that support the construction of family histories. The idea of finding out about oneself through an exploration of the character and lives of ancestors is a growing social practice reflected in popular culture. Tracing one's personal traits through past family members and extending the sense of family and identity back in time potentially enriches personal identity and link personal, social and cultural memory. In this paper, an episode of the popular BBC TV program Who Do You Think You Are? is presented in which, it is argued, the celebrity guest embarks on a quest to construct a personalized history of the present as a way of resolving personal problems and understanding the basis of their celebrity. The implications of this analysis are expanded on to aid an understanding of the media representations of genealogy as a social practice and the media representation of the relation between history and memory.

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Citation

Communications, 2017, 42 (3), pp. 293-307

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, ARTS AND HUMANITIES/Department of Media and Communication

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Communications

Publisher

Walter de Gruyter

issn

0341-2059

eissn

1613-4087

Copyright date

2017

Available date

2018-08-19

Publisher version

https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/comm.2017.42.issue-3/commun-2017-0034/commun-2017-0034.xml

Notes

The file associated with this record is under embargo until 12 months after publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.

Language

en

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