Celebrity status and the attribution of value

Simon Stewart, David Giles

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Abstract

The concept of status is in the background of much research on celebrity but rarely made explicit, so in this collection of articles we seek to intervene by drawing attention to the usefulness of the concept in understanding the attribution of value in celebrity culture. We consider that celebrity status derives from an accumulation of social esteem or disparagement based on the countless evaluative judgements, positive or negative, that accumulate in media and wider public discourse. We conceptualize celebrity status as operating within and relating to the social fields that celebrities occupy and move between. Analysing status within the context of fields enables us to better account for how celebrity status is accrued and/or lost within particular social fields in accordance with field-specific criteria and in relation to wider shifting cultural, political and technological contexts. The articles in this special issue have in common an attentiveness to the evaluative criteria by which celebrities are judged as they move from field to field, and as their status undergoes a transformation – for better or worse – in the field they occupy. Ultimately, we argue that the status attributed to celebrities tells us much about how value is attributed, distributed and accumulated in contemporary society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-17
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Volume23
Issue number1
Early online date21 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

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