Haven’t we all seen a Black Panther movie and listened to at least a few Harry Styles tunes? Who hasn’t seen a Taylor Swift video? Or can’t name an incident or two involving the Kardashians? Popular fascination with the rich and famous is an inescapable part of contemporary consumer culture. Celebrity Culture is a comprehensive yet accessible survey of the pervasive phenomenon. This new edition of the textbook is fully revised and updated, incorporating up-to-date examples, case studies and additional features, including a timeline and retrospections at the end of chapters.
Whilst recognizing that celebrities have existed for centuries, Cashmore argues that celebrity culture in the 21st century is a novel and unique phenomenon driven by rampant consumerism, advertising and the media. He describes the evolution of a new kind of fame, the growth of consumerism, the rise of the paparazzi, the fluctuating value of sex scandals, the transmutation of blackness, the metamorphosis of the British royal family, the emergence of influencers, the appeal of celebrity couples, the increased visibility of queer culture, the transformation of politics, the reconstruction of talent and the attempts of theories to grasp celebrity culture’s magnetism.
Celebrity Culture will appeal to a wide undergraduate audience throughout the social sciences and humanities.
Celebrity culture timeline, 18th century – today
Retrospection: Jack the Ripper, 1888
Retrospection: The afterlife of Marilyn Monroe, 1962-present
Retrospection: Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears enter rehab, January/February 2007
Retrospection: Madonna’s "Like a Prayer", 1989
Retrospection: Ye cancelled, October 2022
Retrospection: Lizzo’s critique of body positivity, 2022
Retrospection: Disney severs ties with PewDiePie, 2017
Retrospection: Wagatha Christie, 2019-2022
Retrospection: Harry Styles at the Met Gala, May 2019
Retrospection: JFK, Sinatra and the Mafia, 1960
Retrospection: R Kelly cleared of child pornography charges, June 2008
Retrospection: China’s Cultural Revolution 2.0, 2021
Retrospection: Taylor Swift breaks Ticketmaster, November 2022
"Ellis Cashmore’s Celebrity Culture (Third Edition) is a significant update to an essential book that answers what is celebrity, why does it matter so much to us, and what is its impact. With the inclusion of new vignettes ranging from Lizzo’s critique of body positivity to questions surrounding so-called ‘cancel culture’, to Harry Styles’ gender expression and Taylor Swift fans breaking Ticketmaster, Celebrity Culture uses well-known examples that elucidate important debates that are happening in our contemporary world. With wit and engaging analysis, Ellis manages to simultaneously bring in historical references ranging from Jack the Ripper to Grace Kelly to Lady Gaga to understand why we celebrate our idols. A jaunt through the lives, art and drama surrounding the celebrities who shape our world – and whom the fans themselves also influence – Celebrity Culture isn’t a simple guilty pleasure – it’s an intellectually stimulating and immensely gratifying book."
Louie Dean Valencia, Associate Professor of Digital History, Texas State University, USA
"In the third edition of Celebrity Culture, Ellis Cashmore makes an outstanding contribution to urgent understandings and re-considerations of 21st-century fame. Using up-to-date examples, Cashmore demonstrates that celebrities are a product of audience imagination beyond media representations. He uses specific cases to show how "visibility politics" in #MeToo, Gay Liberation Movement, Black Lives Matter, and #OscarsSoWhite can provoke individual responses for diversity despite counter-movements. The commodification of individualism in what Cashmore calls a shoppable life is an alarming but veritable expression of contemporary celebrity culture that carries historical accounts of royal fame, paparazzi, and sex scandals while now also being occupied by followers-turned-influencers. Cashmore’s carefully designed self-reflective questions enable readers to reach conclusions in a practical manner. His countless journalistic data, creative accounts of artists, and memorable quotes are compelling in a contested history of tabloid fame, challenging extraordinariness of talent that was once unique but still a rare possibility."
Samita Nandy, Founding Director of the Centre of Media and Celebrity Studies, Canada