Young people's uses of celebrity: Class, gender and 'improper' celebrity

  • Allen K
  • Mendick H
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Abstract

vIn this article, we explore the question of how celebrity operates in young people’s\r
everyday lives, thus contributing to the urgent need to address celebrity’s social\r
function. Drawing on data from three studies in England on young people’s\r
perspectives on their educational and work futures, we show how celebrity\r
operates as a classed and gendered discursive device within young people’s\r
identity work. We illustrate how young people draw upon class and gender\r
distinctions that circulate within celebrity discourses (proper/improper, deserving/\r
undeserving, talented/talentless and respectable/tacky) as they construct their own\r
identities in relation to notions of work, aspiration and achievement. We argue\r
that these distinctions operate as part of neoliberal demands to produce oneself as\r
a ‘subject of value’. However, some participants produced readings that show\r
ambivalence and even resistance to these dominant discourses. Young people’s\r
responses to celebrity are shown to relate to their own class and gender position.

Author-supplied keywords

  • aspirations
  • celebrity
  • class
  • gender
  • neoliberalism

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Authors

  • Kim Allen

  • Heather Mendick

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