Study Abroad and Exchanges




Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The module aims to critically and theoretically investigate the rise of the celebrity during the twentieth century by locating and mapping the paradoxical and contingent nature of fame. The module will situate the conflicting and contrasting notion of the contemporary ‘celebrity’ alongside established versions of celebrity identity and identification. By positioning the politics of the ‘ordinary’ social sphere against the ‘extraordinary’ world of celebrity culture, it will use literature and theories from the field of sociology to evaluate specific contexts and case studies.

The module will be organised around three key themes:

• Theoretical approaches to ‘celebrity culture’ and ‘elite groups’
• Celebrities, social stratification and identity
• Economies of Celebrity and social/cultural transformation

This module aims to:

• Enable students to develop a core knowledge base in the field of ‘celebrity’, associated sociological theory and
• Allow participants to develop specialisms on the basis of specific interests (e.g. the media and celebrity;
cultural/political economies of celebrity; ‘fans’ and audiences; reality television, gender, class, race,
representation and identity).
• Encourage students to consolidate methodological and critical skills in studying practices, texts,
qualitative/quantitative material in the spheres of celebrity culture, celebrity and sociology.
• Examine the rise of celebrity culture and the role of celebrities/stars both globally and locally.
• Investigate and understand the culturally and temporally specific nature of ‘celebrity’ and fame and to develop case
studies of specific ‘celebrities’, cultural trends and practices.

Outline Of Syllabus

1. What is ‘Celebrity’? : Histories, Themes, Issues and Paradigms
2. Theories of ‘celebrity’ and ‘celebrity culture’;
3. The Media and celebrity: Film, TV, Music, Magazines and Internet
4. The Cultural/Political Economy of Celebrity; Taxonomies of fame; The celebrity ‘industry’
5. Celebrity Branding; Advertising, Endorsements and ‘PR Cunning Stunts’
6. The Audience-in-the-text; Fans, fandom and ‘deviant devotees’
7. Celebrity and social stratification: Gender & Sexuality; Race, Ethnicity and ‘Whiteness’, Youth and the Ageing
Celebrity; Class, ‘Taste’ and celebrity status.
8. Death, Violence and celebrity / Murder (infamy and notoriety)
9. Reality television; Authenticity, performance and identification
10. Democratisation of celebrity/end of celebrity; social media technology and our ’15 minutes of fame’?

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion302:0060:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading601:0060:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops22:004:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery10:200:20Drop-in feedback sessions after each assignment, students typically sign up for a 15-20min slot
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study143:4043:40N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The 2 hour lecture slot is intended to combine substantive material with illustrative material. Seminars will focus on reading and exercises set by the module leader. Workshops will allow students to enhance practical skills using case studies and the application of sociological perspectives to specific examples in further preparation for assessments.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study2M401500 words
Essay2M602500 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The case study will test students' research skills, problem-solving, adaptability and initiative. Students will have to show a broad and thorough understanding of specific research methods and theoretical approaches used in the area of celebrity studies/ sociology. This smaller assessment aims to enhance the development of practical and analytical skills in an original, coherent, credible and convincing case study report based upon themes covered in the earlier stages of the course. The length of the report should be 1500 words.

The critical/theoretical essay will allow students to demonstrate more rigorous analytical and critical skills, to develop their information literacy and to practice their writing abilities. Greater scope is provided here for students to reflect more fully upon various themes and issues covered throughout the module in relation to their chosen question. Consequently this assessment component enables students to explore specific examples in greater depth and relevant fields/areas of research as well as allowing for more original and creative thinking. The length of the essay should be 2500 words.

This assessment fits well with the formative side of the module as well as encouraging students to engage with and reflect upon an emerging academic field. The assessment allows students to develop critical and evaluative skills and stresses the importance of working to deadlines and goals.

Reading Lists