Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Details

Marshall, P. D. 2006, 'New Media - New Self: The changing power of celebrity', in P. D. Marshall (eds), The Celebrity Culture Reader, Routledge, London.


Celebrity, in its elevation of particular personalities to public acclaim and recognition, has relied on a relatively stable media system to circulate its images and stories. Thus, even a decade ago one could confidently write about how industries such as film, television and popular music patterned the production of celebrities. To be sure, celebrity, in its focus on the extra-textual dimensions of the public persona, has always had elements that were out of control of an industry, an apparatus or a system of production. Scandals and gossip were part of the highly structured world of Hollywood studio-era celebrities that sometimes were with the consent of the industry, but also were moments where different configurations of power and influence were revealed. Nonetheless, there had developed by the 1980s a maturity in the structure of a celebrity system of promotion: what could described as a "modern" celebrity in the context of television, film and popular music had emerged: a coherent system of promotion of celebrities was in place that was supported by the industries of print and entertainment television. Audiences were organized carefully and discretely around an array of celebrities and closely connected to cultural commodities. Celebrities themselves were also highly organized as commodities even when they exited the world of cultural commodities and only existed in the tabloid press.