Date of Award

Fall 2020

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Cultural Studies, PhD


School of Arts and Humanities

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Joshua Goode

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Elizabeth Affuso

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Mark Andrejevic

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© Copyright Tamar Salibian, 2020. All rights reserved


This dissertation investigates the ways that ideology is dispensed through popular media to drive the commodification of the self. These ideologies are reinforced in the televisual texts examined in this research with the use of self-reflexivity and metacommentary. The use of these tactics creates an onscreen illusion of transparency to co-opt the viewer with the suggestion of authenticity, familiarity, and openness to inscribe the televisual and its visual codes with meaning to perpetuate messages that support consumerism, hegemony, and power.

In order to consider these processes of self-commodification and the reproduction of power in media and cultural production, this dissertation examines the MTV reality series Teen Mom OG, a revival of the 16 and Pregnant program. Its production, editing, and narrative tools reflect a new direction in this television genre, complicate questions of commodification, enforce capitalist modes of exchange, emphasize hierarchies of labor and power, and uphold ideologies in support of surveillance by connecting compulsive personal expression and publicizing private labor in domestic spaces to success. Pairing a close reading methodological approach with analysis of audience responses on fan blog pages, this dissertation considers the themes of celebrity, labor, surveillance [and consent to it], and the emphasis on the commodification of the self in the landscape of this contemporary moment.