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The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies by J. Michael Ryan, Daniel Thomas Cook

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Celebrity

CHRIS ROJEK

City University, London, UK

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs036

Celebrity may be defined as the accumulation of attention capital. Most commonly, it is understood to be a quality of individuals. However, it may also refer to social groups (sports teams, pop groups, business management partnerships) and social events (the Olympics, the World Series, the FIFA World Cup). With respect to individuals, there are three types of celebrity. Ascribed celebrity refers to social impact that reflects bloodline, whereby hereditary titled individuals, such as kings, queens, emperors, ladies, duchesses, and so forth, are positioned in the social hierarchy to automatically command enlarged respect and deference. Achieved celebrity refers to social impact that derives from recognized talents and accomplishments; successful sports stars, musicians, actors, comedians, and authors are pre-eminent in this social category. Celetoids are individuals who attain intense bursts of fame. The term is an amalgamation of “celebrity” and “tabloid” (newspaper); this gives a clue to the meaning of the phenomenon by highlighting the pivotal role of media communication in the process.

The attention capital of celetoids is not principally a matter of innate talent or learned accomplishment. More properly, it is the dividend of external investment. Celetoids are creations of the public relations–media hub (PR–media hub), especially mass circulation print and electronic news outlets and reality ...

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