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Danielle Lindemann
Danielle Lindemann
Sociologist and author of "True Story: What Reality TV Says About Us"
Nonfiction
Sociology
Pop Culture
Gender
Where else you can find me
Personal website
Substack
Book a 1:1 with Danielle
Hi!

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Talk soon,
Sam

Hello!

On my mind

I love to grapple with sociological questions relating to gender, sexuality, and contemporary American culture.

Why I'm excited to talk with readers

I'm excited to connect with others who enjoy looking at "low culture" through an intellectual lens.

If you're a journalist seeking expert commentary or a student looking for help with a project, please email me separately (danielle.lindemann@gmail.com)

All the best,

Danielle

Let's talk! Open to...👇
Freewheeling conversations
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My latest
My Substack
 by 
Danielle Lindemann
Where I've written

True Story: What Reality TV Says About Us

In True Story: What Reality TV Says About Us, the sociologist and TV-lover Danielle J. Lindemann takes a long, hard look in the “funhouse mirror” of this genre. From the first episodes of The Real World to countless rose ceremonies to the White House, reality TV has not just remade our entertainment and cultural landscape (which it undeniably has). Reality TV, Lindemann argues, uniquely reflects our everyday experiences and social topography back to us. Applying scholarly research―including studies of inequality, culture, and deviance―to specific shows, Lindemann layers sharp insights with social theory, humor, pop cultural references, and anecdotes from her own life to show us who we really are.

By taking reality TV seriously, True Story argues, we can better understand key institutions (like families, schools, and prisons) and broad social constructs (such as gender, race, class, and sexuality). From The Bachelor to Real Housewives to COPS and more (so much more!), reality programming unveils the major circuits of power that organize our lives―and the extent to which our own realities are, in fact, socially constructed.

Whether we’re watching conniving Survivor contestants or three-year-old beauty queens, these “guilty pleasures” underscore how conservative our society remains, and how steadfastly we cling to our notions about who or what counts as legitimate or “real.” At once an entertaining chronicle of reality TV obsession and a pioneering work of sociology, True Story holds up a mirror to our society: the reflection may not always be prettybut we can’t look away.

"Exhaustively researched . . . Lindemann is instructive on the power differential between men and women in reality TV, how differently they’re regarded and rewarded for their antics and facial calisthenics."

― James Wolcott, The New York Times

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Commuter Spouses

New Families in a Changing World

What can we learn from looking at married partners who live apart? In Commuter Spouses, Danielle Lindemann explores how couples cope when they live apart to meet the demands of their dual professional careers. Based on the personal stories of almost one-hundred commuter spouses, Lindemann shows how these atypical relationships embody (and sometimes disrupt!) gendered constructions of marriage in the United States. These narratives of couples who physically separate to maintain their professional lives reveal the ways in which traditional dynamics within a marriage are highlighted even as they are turned on their heads. Commuter Spouses follows the journeys of these couples as they adapt to change and shed light on the durability of some cultural ideals, all while working to maintain intimacy in a non-normative relationship.

Lindemann suggests that everything we know about marriage, and relationships in general, promotes the idea that couples are focusing more and more on their individual and personal betterment and less on their marriage. Commuter spouses, she argues, might be expected to exemplify in an extreme manner that kind of self-prioritization. Yet, as this book details, commuter spouses actually maintain a strong commitment to their marriage. These partners illustrate the stickiness of traditional marriage ideals while simultaneously subverting expectations.

“Lindemann skillfully uses commuter marriages as a lens to examine larger social forces. Her findings highlight the ways that independence and interdependence can coexist and reinforce one another, a salutary lesson for couples everywhere.”

― Anne-Marie Slaughter, President & CEO, New America

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Dominatrix

Gender, Eroticism, and Control in the Dungeon

Our lives are full of small tensions, our closest relationships full of struggle: between woman and man, artist and customer, purist and commercialist, professional and client—and between the dominant and the submissive.

In Dominatrix, Danielle Lindemann draws on extensive fieldwork and interviews with professional dominatrices in New York City and San Francisco to offer a sophisticated portrait of these unusual professionals, their work, and their clients. Prior research on sex work has focused primarily on prostitutes and most studies of BDSM absorb pro-domme/client relationships without exploring what makes them unique. Lindemann satisfies our curiosity about these paid encounters, shining a light on one of the most secretive and least understood of personal relationships and unthreading a heretofore unexamined patch of our social tapestry. Upending the idea that these erotic laborers engage in simple exchanges and revealing the therapeutic and analytic nature of their work, Lindemann makes a major contribution to cultural studies, anthropology, and queer studies with her analysis of how gender, power, sexuality, and hierarchy shape all of our social experiences.

Dominatrix has vibrant passages of sparkling writing that demonstrate Lindemann’s talent and promise as a culture critic.”  

Camille Paglia, Review in The Chronicle of Higher Education

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