CFP: Desecrating Celebrity, Fourth International Celebrity Studies Conference

Posted on Oct 1, 2017

CFP: Desecrating Celebrity, Fourth International Celebrity Studies Conference

Wednesday 27th June to Friday 29th June 2018, at Sapienza University of Rome.

Routledge, Celebrity Studies Journal, and Sapienza, University of Rome are pleased to announce the fourth International Celebrity Studies conference.

Keynote Speakers:

Lucy Bolton, Queen Mary, University of London
Misha Kavka, University of Auckland
Douglas Kellner, UCLA
Pramod K. Nayar, University of Hyderabad
Martin Shingler, University of Sunderland

Deadline for individual and panel abstracts: November 6th 2017

Desecrating Celebrity

Celebrity culture is the result of a twofold process – ‘celebritization’ (i.e. Boykoff and Goodman 2009) and ‘celebrification’ (Gamson 1994; Turner 2006) – connected to a mediascape that is defined by traditional mass media and, recently, by the internet. Within these mediascapes celebrities and micro-celebrities constantly emerge through online performances which are recognized by audiences as an expression of celebrity status. If we consider celebrity as a process, as a set of circulated strategies and practices (boyd, Marwick 2011) that build publicly, we have to reflect also on moments that remove celebrity from a place of value. Across cultures, degradation is the opposite to accreditation ceremonies (such as celebrification and celebritization), which are two social practices that involve a community’s shared values and specific social roles (Garfinkel, 1957).

In contemporary society, media rituals of recruitment and ‘celebrification’ can easily turn into rituals of degradation, marking significant movements in a person’s social position. In other words, media constantly manages a complex and intensified representation, where the person’s status dynamics are constantly negotiated and evaluated by the people and the audience through their participation and everyday interactions. The role of the diffused audience (Abercrombie and Longhurst, 1998) is crucial: a degradation ritual without witnesses does not have a social impact. Widespread digital circulation of content on social media enlarges the audience and increases people’s engagement, resulting in a stronger effect of desecration.

We invite papers and panels that consider questions related to these processes: what happens when celebrities lose their own status? How can celebrities manage their status in the contemporary fluid media-scape? What role do media rituals have in building representations of both celebrification and degradation? What role does the audience play in desecrating a celebrity? What set of communicative practices may compose a degradation ceremony, transforming the social identity of the celebrity into another of a lower rank (such as an ordinary person)?

The conference welcomes submissions from a broad range of disciplines: from film and television to digital media studies; from reception and audience studies, sociology, psychology and anthropology, politics, history, economics, literary studies, philosophy and more.  We invite abstracts for individual 20-minute papers or pre-constituted panels of 3 x 20-minute papers on any topic related to the conference theme.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Anti-fandom and ‘haters’
  • Celebrities #fails
  • Celebrity and audience tolerance
  • Celebrity and religion, celebrity as religion
  • Celebrity assassinations
  • Celebrity beefs, feuds, and mud fights
  • Celebrity confessions
  • Celebrity justice
  • Committed celebrity
  • Celebrity meltdowns
  • Celebrity politicians
  • Celebrity reputation
  • Scandals and celebrity status
  • Celebrity rise, fall and rebirth in the mediascape
  • Celebrity, media and surveillance
  • Disingenuous and/or exposed celebrity
  • Exposing celebrity
  • Fallen sports heroes and celebrity culture
  • Famous frauds
  • Famous scapegoats
  • Fandom and the search for celebrity authenticity
  • Hapless and celebrity
  • Inequality and transgression in celebrity culture
  • Libel and slander
  • Marketers risks in celebrity scandals (celebrity’s suitability to continue endorsing)
  • Media rituals and celebrity
  • Parasocial attachment to celebrities
  • Reality-TV and ordinary celebrity
  • Audience and affect
  • (In)sincerity and political celebrity
  • Gossip culture
  • Celebrity hoaxes
  • Illness and celebrity
  • Authenticating celebrity and gender, race, class, ethnicity
  • Marketing authenticity
  • Ridiculous celebrities
  • Sacrifice, crucification and public torture
  • Schadenfreude and celebrity envy
  • The phenomenology of fame
  • True fans/anti-fans
  • Sincerity and stardom
  • Trusting celebrity

Deadline for individual and panel abstracts: November 6th 2017

Submitted to:

Individual Abstracts to be: 250 words, plus a 50-word biography. Please indicate if PhD student.

3 Person Panel Abstracts: 150-word overview, plus 3x 250 word abstracts, and 3x 50-word biography, plus name of lead contact.

Colleagues will be notified of decisions by:  January 8th 2018

There will be a small bursary prize for the best PhD abstract submitted (again notified on January 8th 2018)

Conference Website:

All enquiries to:

On behalf of the organisation committee

Chair: Romana Andò
James Bennett
Hannah Hamad
Neil Ewen
Alessandro Saggioro
Andrea Minuz
Gaston Franssen
Sean Redmond




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