Date of this Version
Drawn from a bigger project (Kraidy, 2009, in press), this article examines the heated debate triggered by the pan-Arab reality show Star Academy in Saudi Arabia. It examines how controversies over authenticity spawned by popular culture crystallize broader social and political struggles. The article focuses on Star Academy as a contentious media event, describing and analyzing various Saudi reactions to Star Academy, and zeroing in on what the controversy reveals about Saudi politics. The article concludes that Star Academy was so polemical in Saudi Arabia because the show subverted the religious bases of Saudi social order by promoting women’s agency, featuring cultural hybridity and individuating authenticity.
Date Posted: 25 May 2012
This document has been peer reviewed.