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The Cultural Function of Celebrity
The cultural function of celebrity

At times [celebrities] are part of the background noise and flow – part of the wallpaper, we say – and at times they loom up as something more. Sometimes we evaluate them as physical beings and moral agents. Often we find them desirable, or enviable, or in some other way they evoke the sentiments, the liking, irritation or boredom, that flesh and blood individuals evoke. Yet an aura of some sort surrounds them. They take up ritual places as heroes, leaders, scapegoats, magical figures, to be admired, envied, loved or hated: to matter. (Gitlin, 2001: 132)

Celebrity ‘from Below’

This chapter sets out to provide an answer to the question: what is the cultural function of celebrity? It ...

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