Celebrity Society

Evans, Jessica (2017). Celebrity Society. In: Turner, Bryan, S.; Kyung-Sup, Chang; Epstein, Cynthia P.; Kivisto, Peter; Ryan, J. Michael and Outhwaite, William eds. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118430873.est0586


The study of celebrity is a significant interdisciplinary growth area with established concepts that account for the historical development of celebrity (celebritisation); the powerful identifications audiences and viewers have with mediated celebrity personae (intimacy at a distance); and the economic imperatives for the formatting and branding of celebrity names in market society (celebrity-as-commodity).Celebrity personae provides a structure not only for the organisation of all persons operating in public but for concepts of individuality and models of modern subjectivity oriented to the asset of recognition. Celebrity society is an analytic concept marking out a certain territory in contrast to ‘celebrity culture’. Critical of the latter’s focus on representation and textual analysis, it emphasizes celebrity as a historically specific social form in its own right, yet underpinned by what it analyses as systematic interdependencies of individualisation, mediatisation, democratisation and commodification. Focusing on various components of celebrity production, marketing, distribution and consumption, it allows for key moments of discontinuity as well as the long-term continuities marking the history of celebritisation.

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