SOC-30033 - Celebrity
Coordinator: Jane Parish Room: CBC0.011 Tel: +44 1782 7 34232
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2023/24


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2023/24

The module looks at the growing importance of celebrity in modern culture. From the Hollywood star system of the 1920s the module traces the changing perception of celebrity under a changing public gaze that demands that stars reveal everything about their lives. To this end, the module examines the changing representation of stardom, the notion of the 'aura' of stars, scandal and what is means to be (extra) ordinary, but also part of ordinary, everyday life.
The most successful celebrities are also marketable franchises such as 'Brangelina' and the Beckhams. We look at the global processes behind the commoditisation of individuals, the hype and spin of the culture industry, celebrity worship, the notion of fandom and ask whether we are able to distinguish between fact and fiction anymore in the postmodern age? Finally, we look at the social and cultural implications of the significance attached to fame and success in the contemporary age, and ask whether, indeed, we can all be famous for 15 minutes?
Key topics
The star system and Hollywood
Celebrity and the public sphere
Andy Warhol and celebrity
The spectacle of celebrity
Celebrity Scandal
Celebrity Gaze
Hype and Spin
The End of Celebrity?

To encourage students to think about celebrity in a historical and cross-cultural setting.
To extend students understanding of key concepts such as globalisation, commodity and the public sphere in relation to the study of celebrity.
To enhance students ability to link socio-economic concepts and evidence within an interdisciplinary framework

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Articulate and assess sociological and cultural perspectives of celebrity and how these have developed in a historical and cross cultural context: 1
Creatively source and organise 'data' that illustrates a particular exemplar and relate this to developing conceptual knowledge: 1
Evaluate the different factors shaping celebrity in a postmodern age: 1
Employ concepts and theories to analyse celebrity beyond its original context: 1
Communicate ideas, theories and knowledge about celebrity in written form: 1
Apply central concepts in the literature to real world and real data exemplars: 1

Study hours

20 contact hours (1 hour lecture: 1 hour tutorial)
60 hours tutorial preparation
70 hours assessment preparation

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Essay weighted 100%
3000 word essay
3000 word essay on title of students own making from a topic of their choice from the module, integrating and organising material into a full essay.