Representations of success, failure and death in celebrity culture

Kyllonen, Hanna (2012) Representations of success, failure and death in celebrity culture. Doctoral thesis (DPhil), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

Celebrity is one of the most central shaping and distorting forces in our society. My PhD thesis interrogates the nature of fame in contemporary culture that actively promotes individuality, image, consumerist lifestyles, and the constructed nature of the self. Celebrity culture is marked by a confusion of realms between public and private, talent and manufacture, and image and the ‘real self.’ The thesis examines representations of success, failure and death in celebrity culture during the period between the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 and the end of year 2010. The thesis provides an analysis based on feminist thought through reading individual celebrities’ narratives. The emphasis is on looking at fame as a process of success and failure, as represented in auto/biographies and the media. The thesis considers how media representations change the perception of celebrities and also how celebrities themselves affect these representations through confessional discourse, autobiographies, self-promotion, and image construction. Therefore, the thesis will analyse how success, failure and death are represented through individual celebrities’ narratives, using case studies to examine both confessional and biographical/autobiographical discourses and media discourses. The emphasis is on tabloid media and an examination of the continuities between success, failure and death, revealing how representations of celebrity rely on narrative, sensationalism and the personal realm instead of facts, objectivity and the public sphere. The thesis pays particular attention to the analysis of the gendered nature of celebrity autobiographies with the aim of revealing how modern celebrity autobiographies confuse traditional gender boundaries. There is a new, decidedly negative side to celebrity culture, particularly evident in the media’s emphasis on failure, scandal and death, reactions to which often take a nasty, bullying tone. The methods used by celebrities to deal with fame are varied and compelling and may offer us insights into how lives are negotiated in contemporary society

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN301 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0621 Culture
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2012 11:23
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2015 13:32
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/39667

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