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"Desirable people: Identifying social values through celebrity news"

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Published in Media, Culture and Society. 2011, vol. 33, no. 4, p. 599-618
Abstract In this article, we define the notion of ‘celebrity news', emphasizing the fact that the portrayal of film stars embodies the imitable and the inimitable and, consequently, points towards values. In that context, we discuss the results of a thematic content analysis of a wide corpus of the daily and weekly European, French-speaking printed media to reveal which values are highlighted in celebrity news; we also compare these results with the contemporary values which emerge from recent European and global surveys of values. We then compare the various types of printed media. Finally, we focus on a specific aspect emerging from the main content analysis: the ‘meltdown' or ‘fall from grace', which records the decline of a star figure. Such narratives are good examples of syncretism in values, in which very contradictory attributes in celebrities are made to coexist, yet in which the subversive aspect of such a confrontation is passed over. We conclude by showing that the widespread negotiation of different values perceptible in reporting on celebrity figures is a sign of an era of change and re-evaluation, and therefore deserving of study.
Keywords Celebrity newsCelebrity studiesContent analysisNarrativePopular cultureValues
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Deposited on : 2011-05-17

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