2016 CMCS Keynote Speaker Professor P David Marshall
Bridging Gaps: What are the media, publicists, and celebrities selling?
Red Room, Four Points by Sheraton Barcelona Diagonal
July 3 – 5, 2016
Deadline for Abstract Submissions: Thursday, December 31, 2015
Conference URL: http://cmc-centre.com/
“Commodifying the Celebrity-Self: The Peculiar Emergence, Formation and Value of “Industrial” Agency in the Contemporary Attention Economy” by P David Marshall
Historically and contextually, individuality has been valued quite differently. In political terms, it has represented the ideological core of democratic cultures as the concept of one person/one vote expresses the power of the individual to influence the polity; in a similar way, economically, individuality has been central to the operation of consumer-driven capitalism as individuals shape their public and private identities through their purchases. This presentation looks at the new and emerging comfortability with how selling the self has become normalized and naturalized transnationally. Commodifying the self has been the natural province of celebrities and their activities: they are able to use their visibility for their own ends, but also in drawing attention to particular issues that appear to be beyond their celebrity value. These activities represent a form of agency in contemporary culture, a means of effecting change and a technique to draw collective attention and action to particular events, activities and causes. The kind of agency that celebrities bring to the public world is infused with what I develop in this presentation as “industrial” agency. In the contemporary moment, this formation of industrial agency has been naturalized as billions now engage in some form of persona construction for the attention economy through their elaborate and complex uses of social media. This transformation identifies the emergence of a new cultural politics that is connected to the successes of this widespread deployment of “industrial” agency and the presentation concludes with trying to understand the implications of this new shifted political culture.
Bio: Professor Marshall, a research professor and holding a personal chair in new media, communication and cultural studies at Deakin University, has published widely in two areas: the public personality/celebrity and new media culture. His books include Companion to Celebrity (December 2015), Celebrity and Power (1997; second edition, 2014), Fame Games (2000), Web Theory (2003), New Media Cultures (2004), and The Celebrity Culture Reader (2006). He has been a keynote speaker at many international conferences as well as interviewed for articles and many broadcast media programs from CNN, FoxNews, BBC, and the ABC/Radio National to the Sydney Morning Herald, New York Times and the Toronto Star. His previous academic positions have been at Northeastern University in Boston, the University of Queensland in Brisbane, and Carleton University in Ottawa along with visiting positions at New York University, York University and Karlstad University. He is also Visiting Distinguished Foreign Expert in the School of Journalism and Communication at Central China Normal University (CCNU) in Wuhan China.
His current writing and research has focused on some key areas in contemporary popular culture: he has been developing the idea of ‘persona studies’, where the presentation of the public self has expanded well beyond celebrity culture via particularly online forms: it now structures and patterns reputation and value across many professions and through many recreational and leisure pursuits. He has developed three related concepts to help explore this change in contemporary culture: presentational media, the intercommunication industry, and the personalization complex. Forthcoming books include: Promotional Vistas (Palgrave, 2016), Contemporary Publics (2016), and Persona Studies: Celebrity, Identity and the transformation of the public self (Palgrave), and Persona in formation (Minnesota, Forerunner Series, 2016). He is also the founder of the Persona Studies Journal and M/C. His personal blog can be found at: www.pdavidmarshall.com
Conference URL: http://cmc-centre.com/conferences/barcelona/