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Celebrity and Power

Fame in Contemporary Culture

2014
Author:

P. David Marshall

Celebrity and Power

Celebrity and Power questions the impulse to become embroiled with the construction and collapse of the famous, exploring the concept of the new public intimacy. In a new introduction, P. David Marshall investigates the viewing public’s desire to associate with celebrity and addresses the explosion of instant access to celebrity culture, bringing famous people and their admirers closer than ever before. 

"P. David Marshall deserves high praise for his skillful handling of the topic from the viewpoints of a wide variety of scholarly disciplines—sociology, political science, psychology, semiotics, linguistics, cinema studies, and cultural studies." —Choice

Simultaneously celebrated and denigrated, celebrities represent not only the embodiment of success but also the ultimate construction of false value. Celebrity and Power questions the impulse to become embroiled with the construction and collapse of the famous, exploring the concept of the new public intimacy: a product of social media in which celebrities from Lady Gaga to Barack Obama are expected to continuously campaign for audiences in new ways. In a new introduction for this edition, P. David Marshall investigates the viewing public’s desire to associate with celebrity and addresses the explosion of instant access to celebrity culture, bringing famous people and their admirers closer than ever before.

Awards

A Choice Outstanding Academic Title

Celebrity and Power

P. David Marshall is research professor and holds a personal chair in new media, communication, and cultural studies at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. He is editor of Celebrity Culture Reader, coeditor of Companion to Celebrity Studies, author of New Media Cultures, and coauthor of Web Theory and Fame Games.

Celebrity and Power

Marshall’s book offers a scholarly review of critical thinking about celebrity, an original attempt to theorise its function and significance, and a perceptive comment on current trends in contemporary culture. It is a thorough, intelligent and useful contribution to an important subject.

American Studies

Marshall deserves high praise for his skillful handling of the topic from the viewpoints of a wide variety of scholarly disciplines-sociology, political science, psychology, semiotics, linguistics, cinema studies, and cultural studies.

Choice

David Marshall, rather than dismissing celebrities as lightweight entertainment, smartly demonstrates the ideological work performed by the famous among us. Deftly linking film, literary, psychoanalytic, and social theory to particular case studies-Freud, Baudrillard, and Weber meet Tom Cruise, New Kids on the Block, and Oprah-Marshall offers a provocative rethinking of the power of celebrity.

Joshua Gamson, Yale University

Marshall has provided an extremely useful and original study of the nature of stardom in the contemporary Western world. Locating the celebrity in a theoretical and historical context, Marshall gives us not only an analysis of the significance of this social position, but a set of tools for analyzing the different forms that it may take. Most importantly, and unlike other studies of the star, he describes the general structure of power in which the celebrity is implicated, and consequently he is able to bring together the realms of entertainment and government. This is an important contribution to our attempts to understand the ways media function in current relations of power.

Lawrence Grossberg, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Contemporary celebrities, especially those in the entertainment industry, often wield significant power outside their areas of talent and expertise. How they derive and exercise their status and power is the subject of this intriguing study. Marshall deserves high praise for his skillful handling of the topic from the viewpoints of a wide variety of scholarly disciplines-sociology, political science, psychology, semiotics, linguistics, cinema studies, and cultural studies. . . . Intriguing also is Marshall’s claim that contemporary politicians are using these three modes of celebrity status to construct their own political identities. Recommended for both public and academic libraries collecting in media and cultural studies.

Choice

Thoughtful and solidly academic. . . . With this book, Marshall provides a workable schema with which to view the creation and sustainability of celebrity in western (specifically American) culture….Marshall provides a number of intriguing ideas and tools for cultural critics to use when approaching the concept of celebrity.

Literature and Psychology

P. David Marshall deserves high praise for his skillful handling of the topic from the viewpoints of a wide variety of scholarly disciplines—sociology, political science, psychology, semiotics, linguistics, cinema studies, and cultural studies.

Choice

Provides a number of intriguing ideas and tools for cultural critics to use when approaching the concept of celebrity.

Literature and Psychology

Celebrity and Power

Contents

Introduction to the Second Edition. Celebrity in the Digital Era: A New Public Intimacy
Celebrity and Power: Fame in Contemporary Culture

Preface

Part I
1. Tracing the Meaning of the Public Individuals
2. Conceptualizing the Collective: The Mob, the Crowd, the Mass, and the Audience
3. Tools for the Analysis of the Celebrity as a Form of Cultural Power

Part II
4. The Cinematic Apparatus and the Construction of the Film Celebrity
5. Television’s Construction of the Celebrity
6. The Meanings of the Popular Music Celebrity: The Construction of Distinctive Authenticity
7. The System of Celebrity

Part III
The Embodiment of Affect in Political Culture

Conclusion: Forms of Power/Forms of Public Subjectivity
Coda: George, Celebrities, and the Shift in Political/Popular Culture

Notes
Index