Celebrity and Power: Fame in Contemporary Culture

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"Simultaneously celebrated and denigrated, stars represent the embodiment of success, but also the ultimate construction of false value. They are a peculiar form of public subjectivity that negotiates the tension between a democratic culture of access and a consumer capitalist culture of excess. This work questions the cultural forces behind the need to become endlessly embroiled with the construction and collapse of celebrities. Through detailed analysis of figures from Tom Cruise to Oprah Winfrey to New Kids on the Block, the author investigates the general public's desire to associate with celebrity. He examines various kinds of stars, questioning the needs each type fulfills in our lives and relates these needs to particular mediums of entertainment. He questions why enigmatic, distant stars populate the silver screen while television constructs approachable "everyman" figures and popular music features audience identified celebrity personalities. He looks at the significance of cases of stars who amass cult-like followings as well as those who appear to prompt outright rejection. This book identifies the forces that have enveloped the development of democratic culture and their partial resolution through a redefined public sphere populated by celebrities. The author argues that new concern with the masses that characterize modern capitalism promotes figures who can be seen as part of the crowd, but yet are articulated as individuals. As such, they provide a model of self-differentiation which furthers an economy in which product consumption is thought to bestow individualism and personality." -- BOOK PUBLISHER WEBSITE.

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