Menschenwürde und Reality TV : eine ethische Analyse

Krämer, Carmen; Kellerwessel, Wulf (Thesis advisor); Stepanians, Markus (Thesis advisor)

Aachen (2020)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis


With reality TV formats such as Big Brother, Deutschland sucht den Superstar, Schwiegertochter gesucht and several other programmes of this kind, an entire television genre is criticised for not only violating codes of ethics, but also for disregarding the highest value of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Basic Law. For in these formats, in front of an audience of millions, people are not only often humiliated, insulted and sometimes exposed to inhuman situations, but are also treated according to stereotypes and prejudices. For this reason, the accusation is often made that reality TV violates human dignity. Is it justified, however, to pass such a grave judgment on these TV formats and to claim that they violate human dignity? In order to find an answer to this question, it is essential to clarify what is meant by "human dignity". Even though the term is used in numerous ethical discourses, a controversial discourse has been going on about its meaning for some years now, which provides extremely heterogeneous answers to the question of how to define human dignity. In the present dissertation, a proposal for the understanding of human dignity in distinction to "dignity of a person" is presented, which makes clear that the term is not empty, but in its long history it has been given various meanings that need to be differentiated more precisely. It then explains what this elaborated understanding of dignity means for the television formats criticised. The goals of the dissertation are, on the one hand, an analytical examination of the concept of dignity and, on the other hand, to gain clarity about whether reality TV fundamentally, it's individual formats or individual components of these formats violate dignity.