Celebrity, gossip, privacy, and scandal

Authored by: Milly Williamson

The Routledge Companion to Media and Gender

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  December  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415527699
eBook ISBN: 9780203066911
Adobe ISBN: 9781135076955


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Among the central debates regarding celebrity culture is whether modern fame has opened up the public sphere to people outside traditional hierarchies, and, if so, whether this opening is symptomatic of cultural decline. To some people, the burgeoning of celebrity marks a serious cultural demise (Boorstin 1961); an unprecedented deterioration in press standards and in its civic role (Franklin 1997; Langer 1998); or a symptom of a transition to a more ephemeral and “liquid” epoch (Bauman 2005). Celebrity culture, from this perspective, represents a trivialization of news content (Gitlin 1997) and demonstrates the troubling link between the news media and global entertainment industries. Others regard celebrity culture as part of an opening up of the public sphere, a democratic expansion of the categories of people who can take to the public stage (Ponce de Leon 2002; Connell 1992). Here journalism manifests concerns about social difference that are recognizable to audiences, rather than “remote and abstract” (Connell 1992: 82).

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