From the Author
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.