“An outstanding achievement… Graeme Turner writes with power and persuasion, and brilliantly explores what it is about celebrity today that should concern us all”
- Sean Redmond, Deakin University
“A key touchstone for celebrity studies. Turner thoughtfully illuminates the variety of production and consumption practices through which celebrity circulates today, whilst remaining sensitive to the complexity of power relations in play. An essential read for students and scholars in the field”
- Sue Holmes, University of East Anglia
“Cements Turner's status as the most important figure in celebrity studies… Turner's gaze fixes on developments in digital, social and global mediascapes, drawing media and celebrity studies into complex critical, political and cultural debates in his indomitable style”
- James Bennett, Royal Holloway, University of London
“An extraordinary synthesis of research and theory… Understanding Celebrity remains the go-to text of celebrity studies”
- Joshua Gamsom, University of San Francisco
Where does the production of celebrity end and its consumption begin?
Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and reality TV allow us a previously unimagined engagement with the manufactured ‘persona’ of celebrity. Understanding Celebrity has become the go-to text for understanding the connection between the production and consumption of this ‘persona’. The long-awaited second edition assesses the changing nature of this pivotal relationship in celebrity studies.
The book: Explains how social media is key in establishing an online presence for celebrities; Critically analyses the changing nature of fan culture within the online environment; Delves into a richer and more detailed account of the history of celebrity; Examines in greater depth the increased role of reality TV; Incorporates recent contributions from feminist scholars to the field
Enriched with new examples drawn from popular culture, this is a contemporary and incisive look at celebrity studies.
Understanding Celebrity is not only an essential text, but a stimulating read for students studying celebrity and popular culture across media studies, cultural studies and sociology.
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)
This chapter sets out to provide an answer to the question: what is the cultural function of celebrity? It ...