There is an article by someone named Edward R. O'Neill in issue no.
38 (September 1995) of *CineAction*--a special issue entitled *Murder in
America*. The title is: "The Seen of the Crime: Violence, Anxiety and the
Domestic in Police Reality Programming."
The author claims that the reflexivity and stylistic excess of
police reality programming do not produce any kind of defamiliarization, as
theorists of cinema (and the documentary) have long claimed they should, but
rather serve to reinforce the spectacular and phantasmatic aspects of these
He goes on to link the genre to mutations of the private and public
spheres within the genres of melodrama and horror, while arguing that
Foucault's shift from spectacles of punishment to an internalization of
discipline is not as complete as one might have imagined.
I am not sure whether the argument is correct or not, but it might
be worth looking at.
Edward R. O'Neill
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