1.Celebrities & Celebrity Culture: Role Models for High-Risk Behaviour or Sources of Credibility?
Dr Yvette Morey
Professor Lynne Eagle
Dr Gillian Kemp
Dr Julia Verne
Celebrity participates in our lives as an ever-present current of narratives, discourses & images (Holmes, 2005: 22)
3.Representations & Role Models
Media images & representations:
Substantive work on media reps
→ ‘media images’, ‘stereotypes’, ‘ideals’
quantitative, causal relationships but:
how are images consumed, meaningful?
How do they translate into practice
social networks & friendships
Commonplace but “unclear … in a psychological sense how ‘role modelling’ might actually work” (Gauntlett, 2008)
How do role models become meaningful to people?
Social or Individual function?
One or more role models depending on contexts/behaviours (tensions?)
4.Contemporary celebrity culture
Historic, current configuration in 80s (Cashmore, 2006)
Dominates media content across formats (tabloidization of news)
Becoming/being a celebrity – accelerated, visible process
Reality TV (X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, Big Brother)
Extraordinary Ordinariness, ‘willabees’
Taylor Herring: top 3 career aspirations
Not achievable by all, except through:
Consumption: consuming, living, behaving like a celebrity
Self-promotion: technology enables us to construct ourselves as media
Content & narrative analysis
heat, Closer, OK!, New!
Highest ABC circulation figures for 18 – 24yr olds (most likely to participate in high-risk behaviours)
Examine contexts & narratives about celebrity (textual & visual)
Readership survey – how is celeb content consumed in magazines?
Interviews & focus groups – how celebrity/ies are meaningful to readers?
Recycling of key, dominant narratives/stories:
Appearance (transformation: weight, cosmetic surgery, addiction)
Relationships (marriage/divorce etc.)
Mental/health breakdowns (mad-bad to recovering-good)
Katie Price, Kerry Katona, Cheryl Cole, Charlotte Church & Victoria Beckham – ongoing process of managing, repudiating, creating scandals that afford media attention
Celebrities routinely shown engaging in high-risk behaviours, simultaneously depicted as shameful & aspirational
Alongside ‘advertorial’ content – weight-loss, tanning, cosmetic, leisure, fitness, spiritual products
10. Ideological function of celebrity magazines - deconstruction & reconstruction of celebrity & celebrities
11.Celebrities engage in high-risk behaviours shown as shameful and aspirational – how do young people engage with this?
Becoming a celebrity - aspirational identity narrative available to young people – what does this mean to them, what does it entail?
Does the ideological tension of reconstruction/deconstruction invalidate celebrities as credible sources for soc mark interventions? OR does this mirror the lives of young people in an authentic manner?
Critical need to qualitatively expand our understanding of representations and role models
Downstream – we need to understand what role these dominant narratives perform for any intervention to be effective
Upstream – whose interests are served?
Implications for Social Marketing
Celebrity is not an impartial declaration of merit or talent; it is an economic mechanism designed to keep consumers from asking questions about media ownership, control, and taste-making.