The Sociology of Celebrity



The sociology of celebrity (and its cousin, fame) is a relatively young field, despite having identifiable classical roots. While the topic was ignored by sociologists for many years, it has recently been taken up by both theorists and empirical researchers in sociology and a variety of related fields. In this article, I evaluate the current state of the field, and identify two major themes – celebrity as pathology and celebrity as commodity – that currently dominate the literature. In addition, I suggest additional research directions that I believe will help the field develop and mature; in particular, empirically grounded and meaning-oriented research that reflects the lived experiences of those who swim in the sea of celebrity culture everyday. What does celebrity mean to the people who produce it, consume it, engage with it and live it? To the extent that researchers take up these questions, the sociology of celebrity will continue to be a vibrant and vigorous area of study.