Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds We are constantly exposed to images of stardom and celebrity. Stars define what it means to be successful, what counts as beautiful, what kinds of bodies are socially acceptable. They are central to the way we think about social mobility, aspiration, inclusion, and belonging.
Skip to 0 minutes and 32 seconds The saturation of celebrity images can be a source of pleasure, but also anxiety. Celebrity is powerful, yet it’s often seen as quite frivolous, quite trivial. This course asks, what if we were to take celebrity seriously? What would that tell us about contemporary culture and social life? This course draws on our work in the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies at Lancaster University. It will introduce you to pioneering work by national and international scholars from across the social sciences and humanities to explore the relationship between media, gender, and identity. So we consider questions like, does celebrity culture have a damaging social impact? How effective are the new generation of celebrity feminists in fighting for gender equality?
Skip to 1 minute and 28 seconds How is celebrity seen as role models for better or for worse? What moral panics are there about celebrity culture, and how might they reinforce quite conservative values? We’ll explore these questions through themes that relate to different facets of contemporary media. We’ll ask how an institution like the monarchy has used popular media to rebrand, creating a new kind of media star in figures like Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge. We’ll consider how icons like David Bowie and Prince changed the way we think about masculinity. We’ll see what happens when a celebrity dies, and what that might tell us about the emotional attachments we often have to these public figures.
Skip to 2 minutes and 16 seconds And with a new generation of stars like Laverne Cox and Emma Watson identifying as feminists, we’ll consider whether celebrity media might provide a platform for social change. You’ll learn about key developments in media studies, and feminist scholarship, activism, and popular debate. The course takes a social and interactive approach to learning. You will be encouraged to reflect critically on your own experience of celebrity culture. We invite you to join our active community of researchers as we work together to try and understand this complex, fascinating phenomenon.