Llamas are the new unicorns: Craft as competition television Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • ‘Making’ and crafting have been transformed into a reality TV competition, hosted by celebrities, with promotional tie-ins to other media and cultural products. As such, shows like Making It, Craft Wars, and Ellen’s Design Challenge define ‘craft’ according to particular logics familiar to reality TV programming, which highlight making as a competition in which contestants vie for cash prizes and honorific titles engaging with particular gendered logics of neoliberal markets and histories of ‘craft’. This article examines three craft TV shows to interrogate the nexus of craft and reality television and consider unstable and shifting meanings of these cultural phenomena. Craft, handmade and DIY invoke various competing politics; when imported into a reality TV context, craft continues to bring into play messy contradictions reflective of broader social anxieties and political economic climates.

publication date

  • November 27, 2020