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We position reality television within the broader category of consumer practices of authenticity seeking in a postmodern cultural context. The study draws on relevant perspectives from consumer research, literary criticism, sociology, and anthropology to argue that viewers of reality television encounter three elements of paradox in the process of constructing authenticity. The negotiation of each paradox exceeds the process of coping with or resolving their inherent contradictions to encompass the creation of new values. We argue that consumers blend fantastic elements of programming with indexical elements connected to their lived experiences to create a form of self-referential hyperauthenticity.

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