The twenty-first century has seen an explosion in the ways and means in which children can become part of celebrity culture. With the rise in popularity of reality TV, child beauty pageants, talent shows, and social media platforms, as well as more established routes to fame through TV, cinema, theatre and music, the number of children establishing a presence in public life continues to proliferate.
Childhood and Celebrity brings together international scholarly writing and research about famous children, and representations of childhood, from a range of disciplines including Childhood Studies, Celebrity Studies, Cultural Studies and Film Studies in order to open up a theoretical space in which to explore and understand the complex relationship between contemporary childhood and celebrity culture.
This unique collection includes detailed case studies of specific child performers such as McCaulay Culkin and Miley Cyrus, histories of child stars in the ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood, analyses of representations of children in film and discussions of children as media creators and producers. Key themes of transgression, gender, ‘coming of age’, childhood innocence and children’s rights recur in the chapters and present a compelling argument for the emergence of the field of Childhood and Celebrity as an area of study in its own right.
Table of Contents
Introduction – Jane O’Connor and John Mercer
- Childhood and celebrity: mapping the terrain – Jane O’Connor
- Child beauty pageants in the second gilded age – Henry A. Giroux
- Born to be famous? Children of celebrities and their rights in the media – Ana Jorge and Lidia Maropo
- ‘Just a voice and youth’: Shirley Temple, Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland and the rise of the musical child star in the 1930s – Ciara Barrett
- Bollywood's periphery: child stars and representations of childhood in Hindi films - Shakuntala Banaji
- Blossoming beauty or unhinged teen? Media and audiences discussing celebrities coming of age – Hilde van den Bulck, Nathalie Claessens and Annebeth Bels
- Miley Cyrus and the ‘murder’ of Hannah Montana: Authenticity and young female celebrity – Melanie Kennedy
- The Olsen Twins and internship: The career girl as ‘eager serf’– Vernon Shetley and Lena McCauley.
- Macaulay Culkin and child stardom in the 1990s – Holly Chard
- The devil you don’t know? The rise and fall and rise of Linda Blair – Jason Lee
- Natalie Portman and transgressing boundaries between childhood and adulthood in Luc Besson’s Léon – Stuart Hanson
- Created by children: Conceptualising the child as media producer – Andrew Zolides
- The child star as celebrity: Shirley Temple, fandom and memory – Geoff Lealand
- Parchís as a multimedia franchise: Consumption and fandom across the Hispanic world – Vicente Rodriguez Ortega, Miguel Fernandez Labayen and Sonia Garcia Lopez
- Music/Image and the cusp-persona: The child/adult public persona of child celebrities – David Marshall
Section A: Childhood vs child celebrity
Section B: Post childhood celebrity – the transition to adulthood
Section C: Childhood, celebrity and the media
Jane O’Connor is a Reader in Childhood Studies at Birmingham City University where she leads the ‘Rethinking Childhood’ research cluster. She is the author of The Cultural Significance of the Child Star (2008) and has written extensively in the areas of representations of childhood and children and the media.
John Mercer is Professor of Gender and Sexuality at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. His research interests include the cultural construction of masculinities, celebrity and stardom, and the sexualisation of contemporary media culture. He is the author of Rock Hudson: Star Studies (2015) and (with Martin Shingler) of Melodrama: Genre Style Sensibility. John is co-editor of the Journal of Gender Studies and an editorial board member of Celebrity Studies.