The guardians of the general interest: Discourses of knowledge in QI

Mills, Brett (2011) The guardians of the general interest: Discourses of knowledge in QI. Television and New Media, 12 (2). pp. 136-153. ISSN 1552-8316

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Through an analysis of the British comedy quiz show QI (BBC2/BBC4, 2003—7; BBC1, 2008—), this article examines the ways in which “knowledge” as a discourse is constructed, maintained, and disseminated in popular television. The article draws on the work on discourse of Michel Foucault as well as sociological analyses of education and knowledge from writers such as Karl Mannheim and Pierre Bourdieu. The analysis explores the ways in which being knowledgeable is performed as well as the ways in which knowledge is related to issues of class and gender, particularly in a British context.The article argues that knowledge in QI is dependent on empiricism and posits the value of knowledge as being related to ideas of the civilized gentleman, showing how it is used to promote idea of “appropriate” behavior. While acknowledging the ways in which participants in the program may dissent against its discourses, the article concludes that, while the series may aim to undercut conventional ideas of education, it nevertheless resolutely upholds and promotes ideas of knowledge that sociologists have demonstrated maintain social divisions and power hierarchies.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Film, Television and Media
Depositing User: Rowena Burgess
Date Deposited: 23 May 2011 14:29
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2023 14:30
DOI: 10.1177/1527476410365705

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