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Understanding Celebrity


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Table of Contents

PART ONE: INTRODUCTION 1. Understanding Celebrity Celebrity Today What is Celebrity? Picture Personalities, Stars, and Celebrities The Spread of Celebrity Culture Taxonomies of Fame The Social Functions of Celebrity Celebrities and the Publicity Industries PART TWO: PRODUCTION 2. The Economy of Celebrity Globalisation and Media Convergence The Celebrity-Commodity The Celebrity Industries Publicity, News and Power 3. Manufacturing Celebrity Ordinary Talent 'Real' Celebrities and Reality TV Taking Control: Producing DIY Celebrity in the Digital Era 4. Celebrity, the Tabloid and the Democratic Public Sphere Celebrity, Mass Market Magazines and the Tabloids The 'Tabloidisation' Debate 'Democratainment' The Demotic Turn PART THREE: CONSUMPTION 5. The Cultural Function of Celebrity Celebrity 'From Below' The Para-social Relationship Royal Celebrity Mourning Diana Constructing Cultural Identities 6. Consuming Celebrity Celebrity Watchers Gossip: The Extended Family, Melodrama and Revenge Histories of Consumption: Star Gazing Consuming Celebrity Online 7. Conclusion: Celebrity and Public Culture Taking Celebrity Seriously Celebrity, Politics and 'Spin' Conclusion

About the Author

Graeme Turner is Professor of Cultural Studies at the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, The University of Queensland, Australia


This revised and extended edition of Understanding Celebrity is an outstanding achievement. The book draws upon new transformations in celebrity - such as the deployment of the social media to create complex spaces of identification and agency - to assess its impact on all aspects of contemporary life. Graeme Turner writes with power and persuasion, and brilliantly explores what it is about celebrity today that should concern us all. -- Sean Redmond

Accessibly written - and reinvigorated with reference to new case studies and trends - Understanding Celebrity remains 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.

-- Su Holmes

Understanding Celebrity not only cements Turner's status as the most important figure in celebrity studies, but also reminds us why the study of celebrity is so important. Providing a significant and compelling update, 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

An extraordinary synthesis of research and theory, filled with original insights, the new edition of Understanding Celebrity remains the go-to text of celebrity studies. From Elvis to Kim Kardashian, from old Hollywood to the Twitterverse, from fandom to DIY stardom, Turner covers complex ground with smarts and erudition.

-- Joshua Gamson
This is a timely and, given the meteoric emergence of social media, necessary update of Graeme Turner's 2004 subject defining work Understanding Celebrity. Turner widens the frame of discussion and it is here that the value of the book is evident, not only as summative text on the academic study of celebrity but also as a compelling exploration of issues relating to consumerism and identity, Americanisation and the 'battle' between elite and popular culture. -- Dr Thomas Thurnell-Read, Coventry University

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