Producing Multiculturalism: Casting and Editing Migrants in Korean Reality Television

Felicia Istad, Min Jung Kim, Nathaniel Ming Curran

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the role of production techniques in shaping representations of cultural diversity in South Korean reality television. We first discuss the South Korean government’s evolving guidelines concerning the representation of minorities on television and identify in the guidelines exhortations against discriminatory framing of migrants. Next, we qualitatively examine three popular multicultural-themed reality television shows and demonstrate that the shows ultimately circumvent the government guidelines via specific production techniques, including voice-overs and format decisions. We argue that these techniques, in combination with genre constraints and financial constraints, play a crucial role in othering the migrants portrayed on South Korean reality television. We conclude by considering how reality television can, and should, more accurately reflect the country’s changing demographics, more positively represent minority guests, and more actively encourage transformative dialogue about South Korea’s multicultural present and future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-545
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • media policy
  • minority representation
  • reality television
  • South Korea
  • Television production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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