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Puppets of necessity? Celebritisation in structured reality television

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Mairi Maclean



This conceptual paper uses field theory, and a production of culture perspective to explore the celebritisation process in structured reality television. This relatively new genre, typified by The Only Way Is Essex, blends fiction with fact, and constitutes a new, playful and interactive iteration of the broader category of reality television. We identify three culturally productive models that create new celebrity discourses and establish a theoretical underpinning for the role of structured reality in the celebritisation process; tournaments of value, spectacle and transformative performances. Whilst not exclusive to structured reality television, these models are particularly effective at explaining how celebrities are interactively understood in an increasingly mediatised marketplace. We contribute a model which proposes that celebritisation in structured reality is a homologising process through which celebrity meaning is legitimised.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Thompson A, Stringfellow L, Maclean M, MacLaren A, O'Gorman K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Marketing Management

Year: 2015

Volume: 31

Issue: 5-6

Pages: 478-501

Print publication date: 01/04/2015

Online publication date: 08/12/2014

Date deposited: 27/11/2014

ISSN (print): 0267-257X

ISSN (electronic): 1472-1376

Publisher: Taylor and Francis


DOI: 10.1080/0267257X.2014.988282


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