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Understanding Celebrity

Understanding Celebrity

Second Edition

November 2013 | 184 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

“An outstanding achievement... Graeme Turner writes with power and persuasion, and brilliantly explores what it is about celebrity today that should concern us all”
- Sean Redmond, Deakin University

“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”
- Sue Holmes, University of East Anglia

“Cements Turner’s status as the most important figure in celebrity studies... 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, Royal Holloway, University of London

“An extraordinary synthesis of research and theory... Understanding Celebrity remains the go-to text of celebrity studies"
- Joshua Gamsom, University of San Francisco

Where does the production of celebrity end and its consumption begin?

Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and reality TV allow us a previously unimagined engagement with the manufactured 'persona' of celebrity. Understanding Celebrity has become the go-to text for understanding the connection between the production and consumption of this 'persona'. The long-awaited second edition assesses the changing nature of this pivotal relationship in celebrity studies.

The book:

  • Explains how social media is key in establishing an online presence for celebrities
  • Critically analyses the changing nature of fan culture within the online environment
  • Delves into a richer and more detailed account of the history of celebrity
  • Examines in greater depth the increased role of reality TV
  • Incorporates recent contributions from feminist scholars to the field

Enriched with new examples drawn from popular culture, this is a contemporary and incisive look at celebrity studies.

Understanding Celebrity is not only an essential text, but a stimulating read for students studying celebrity and popular culture across media studies, cultural studies and sociology.

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

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


The Demotic Turn

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'



A fantatsic and very current analysis of the celebrity culture. A must read for anyone, who is exploring the current culture and the importance of the celebrity on subject creation

Ms Irena Loveikaite
Department of Applied Arts, Waterford Institute of Technology
May 22, 2015

Along with Barron's Celebrity Culture SAGE is setting the benchmark for titles that explore the increasing important and prevalent relationship between celebrities and social life. Turner's book questions what celebrity is and how it has come to be so important in the twenty-first century before exploring how celebrity society is produced and consumed. It offers an excellent theoretical introduction of celebrity culture and is recommended for anybody looking to explore the relationship between celebrity and contemporary social life.

Mr Michael Rees
Business and Social Science, University of Wales
February 18, 2015

This book lays the groundwork for understanding celebrity culture theoretically, and is another excellent book that crosses disciplines and is therefore relevant for political communication science students as well as film and television scholars. It is accessible and engaging.

Professor Beschara Karam
Department of Communicatin Science, University of South Africa
September 22, 2015

The domain of 'celebrity' rears its pervasive head in a range of subjects and topic-areas. I was drawn to this book as a supplementary offering for students of business and management that are interested in the use of 'celebrities' in marketing, branding and whole host of aspects of business and management. It is proving an insightful and accessible account in such instances.

Dr Peter Watt
Business Management, York St John University
January 25, 2015

Excellent reference for students researching topic and understanding relevant theoretical paradigms

Ms Elizabeth Cotterell
December 10, 2014

Likely to be of interest to our final year students studying celebrity.

Dr Lynne Hibberd
Cultural Studies and Humanities, Leeds Metropolitan University
February 7, 2014

The second edition of Turner's book is an essential for all those engaged in the filed of (celebrity) endorsers.
The book addresses to practitioners as well as researchers and theorists.

Dr Carsten Moeller
Institute of Communication and Media Research, DSH - German Sport University
January 31, 2014

This is an interesting and well-focused text around the celebrity culture. It should provide students with a good complementary resource.

Gary Morris
School of Healthcare, Leeds University
December 13, 2013

An extremely valuable new edition of this seminal text.

Professor Julian Petley
School of Arts, Brunel University
December 1, 2013

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One - Understanding Celebrity

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