The cultural politics of celebrity

Drake, Philip and Miah, Andy (2010) The cultural politics of celebrity. Cultural Politics: an International Journal, 6 (1). pp. 49-64. ISSN 1743-2197 (doi:10.2752/175174310X12549254318746)

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Abstract

[Extract:] Celebrities are a ubiquitous aspect of contemporary Western culture. Although the phenomenon of celebrity itself predates the twentieth century, the rise of the modern mass media – popular newspapers, cinema, radio, and television, and more recently the Internet and other digital communication technologies – has done much to promote and circulate public knowledge of celebrities during the last 100 years. The presence of multi-channel digital television, radio, and the World Wide Web in Western households at the turn of the twenty-first century has not only increased the number of places in which celebrities can be seen and heard, but has also required media producers to compete with each other and with alternative leisure activities for the attention of fragmented audiences, an increasingly precious commodity.
The rise of celebrity culture is inextricably linked to developments in media systems that operate within capitalist systems of commodity exchange. Most obviously, celebrities provide a well-proven route to attracting and retaining audiences, helping to offset the risks inherent in cultural production. They also play out a fantasy of the individual simultaneously performing within public and the private spheres. As P. David Marshall neatly puts it, celebrities might be seen as a “production locale for an elaborate discourse on the individual and individuality” (1997: 4). However the ubiquity of celebrity culture does not mean that its considerable diversity can be ignored. A cursory glance through the prime-time television schedules, for instance, reveals how one might choose between shows featuring celebrity hosts and guests, contest-based reality television shows that participate in the construction of celebrity, personality driven lifestyle programming, sports shows featuring star athletes and commentators, and even political shows with celebrity journalists. All of this is indicative not just of the pervasiveness of modern celebrity culture but also its diversity and breadth.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts
Item ID: 11285
Depositing User: Users 3197 not found.
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2013 11:14
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:27
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/11285

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