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Celebrity Society Paperback – May 28, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0415581509 ISBN-10: 0415581508 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (May 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415581508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415581509
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #552,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

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From the Back Cover

"A major book by a major sociologist. This is sociology at its best: it make the obstinately familiar both more remarkable and more intelligible. Those idiotic magazines one sees in the doctor's waiting room will never seem the same again." 
Professor Stephen Mennell, University College Dublin

"Much has been written about the cult of celebrity today, but Robert van Krieken's lucid, perceptive, critical and timely book stands out from earlier discussions of the topic. Particularly welcome are his displacement of attention from the celebrities themselves to the culture that produces them, and his placing of today's celebrity society in a tradition that goes back to the courts of early modern Europe."
Professor Peter Burke, University of Cambridge

On television, in magazines and books, on the internet, and in films: celebrities of all sorts seem to take up an awful lot of our attention. Celebrity Society brings new dimensions to our understanding of celebrity, capturing the way in which the figure of 'the celebrity' is bound up with the emergence of modernity. It outlines how the 'celebrification of society' is not just the twentieth-century product of Hollywood and television, but a long-term historical process, beginning with the printing press, theatre and art.

By looking beyond the accounts of celebrity 'culture', Robert van Krieken develops the analysis of 'celebrity society', with its own constantly-changing social practices and structures, moral grammar, construction of self and identity, legal order and political economy organized around the distribution of visibility, attention and recognition. Drawing on the work of Norbert Elias, the book explains how contemporary celebrity society is the heir (or heiress) of court society, taking on but also democratising many of the functions of the aristocracy. The book also develops the idea of celebrity as driven by the 'economics of attention', because attention has become a vital and increasingly valuable resource in the information age.

This engaging new book will be a valuable resource for students and scholars in sociology, politics, history, celebrity studies, cultural studies, the sociology of media and cultural theory.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Geert de Vries on August 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
While the contemporary `cult of celebrity' has often been deplored, it has rarely been analyzed. Australian sociologist Robert van Krieken has decided to take celebrity seriously. Celebrity is the capacity to draw the attention of large numbers of people and to use their attention to one's own advantage. Celebrity is thus a form of capital that can be reproduced, invested and converted in other forms. Far from being new or even recent, celebrity culture - or as Van Krieken rather has it: celebrity society - dates back to 16th Century court society, where aristocratic courtiers had a vital interest in drawing and keeping the attention of the absolutist kings like Louis XIV. Since then, celebrity has been democratized. Practically anybody can nowadays aspire to fame and in principle even a nobody can attain it - if only for a brief moment. And celebrities have become quite dependent of the attention of their audiences. In a way, they are at the mercy of the sustained interest in them of millions and millions of people.

Van Krieken vividly reconstructs the historical stages of this `celebritization of society'.(The printing press, court society, English Restoration theatre, French salons, mass circulation newspapers, the advertising industry, radio, television, and of course the Internet all have their roles to play.) While doing so, he demonstrates that celebrity has become a vital function in post-industrial society.
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