YouTuber celebrities – expertise, discovery and legitimate work

Written by Laura (Researcher). Posted in Featured, News

YouTube logo and moneyOne of the more unexpected findings from our focus group data was the popularity of ‘YouTuber’ celebrities, including gamers. Before the interviews, I thought of YouTube as a site to watch videos followed from links shared by friends, or search for old clips of shows, interviews or news stories. However, many of the young people we spoke to used YouTube by subscribing to particular YouTube channels and following popular YouTubers.  While many people can upload videos to YouTube, the term ‘YouTuber’ was generally used to describe those who regularly posted videos and had a following of subscribers.

Participants talked about how YouTube videos circulated between their online and offline worlds, and debated how far being a YouTuber counted as legitimate work.  In this post Laura takes a look at some of the themes emerging from young people’s talk about YouTube during the group interviews.

‘Crap town slags’, Gove and ‘Educating Rita’: some (more) thoughts on aspiration and ‘class mobility’

Written by Kim. Posted in Featured, News

At the gym last week, I listened to the latest episode in one of my favourite podcasts, ‘The Slate Culture Gabfest’, a funny, critical and intelligent review of cultural ‘happenings’ from film to literature. In the show, the presenters interviewed fashion commentator Simon Doonan about his new book ‘Asylum’, a collection of essays on the fashion industry’s ‘glamorous madness and stylish insanity’. Leaving aside my issues with this kind of highly selective appropriation and celebration of ‘madness’ and ‘inclusivity’ within the art and fashion world, I was intrigued by Doonan’s account of his literal and social journey from his working-class parents’ home in ‘the boonies’ (the suburbs of Reading) to become part of New York’s fashion elite. In this post, I share some of my reflections on the significance of Doonan’s story and how it led me back to Michael Gove’s class project.

Fantastic Futures?

Written by Heather. Posted in Featured, News

One of the many pleasures of this year’s British Educational Research Association Conference was collaborating on the Aspiration Nation? Symposium not just with Kim and Laura, my CelebYouth colleagues, but also with the wonderful Louise Archer from the Aspires Project, Graham Crow from the Living and Working on Sheppey Project and Becky Francis. Graham’s research involves asking young people to write essays in the voice of their older selves looking back on their lives, replicating an earlier study by Ray Pahl in the 1970s. In exploring the archived 1970s essays, Graham was surprised to find that Pahl had scribbled ‘Total Fantasy’ on some. This remark from Graham provoked me to reflect on how we judge young people’s aspirations. How do some come to appear realistic and some fantastic, and with what consequences?

The job of the royal family is to be a family: can celebrity elites William and Kate keep up the good work?

Written by Heather. Posted in Featured, News

William and KateYesterday David Cameron tweeted: “I’m delighted for the Duke and Duchess now their son has been born. The whole country will celebrate. They’ll make wonderful parents.” Like many celebrity elites and as a ‘super class’ of the very rich and privileged the security of the royal family as a national institution is partly dependent on a contradictory cult of ordinariness. This is best nurtured through the managed intimacy of living a family life in the public eye. In Michael Billig’s words, ‘the job of the royal family is to be a family’. In this guest post Anita Biressi and Heather Nunn reveal the class camouflage that helps keep the royal family popular.

Final Top 12 Celebrities from the Group Interviews

Written by Heather. Posted in Featured, News

As part of this research we’re doing case studies of 12 celebrities that came up in the group interviews. In December we blogged a tentative top 12 based on fieldwork in our first three schools. We’ve now visited two more schools, Merlin, in the rural South West, and Windsor, in Manchester (all the names we use in our writing are pseudonyms). Our final school pulled out at the last minute and we’ve had to arrange a replacement but have decided to pick our case studies based on where we’re at now so that we can get started on the data collection. In this post I reveal who they are…

Gove, Goody and Gramsci: equity cannot come through elitism

Written by Heather. Posted in Featured, News

When Jade Goody manoeuvred her body through an elastic band in her 2002 UK Big Brother audition video, little can she have imagined that a mere 11 years later she would be cited alongside Italian neo-marxist Antonio Gramsci as the twin inspirations for government education policy. She was inscribed thus, within UK Minister Michael Gove’s speech this week to The Social Market Foundation. Gove’s speech is in this and other ways remarkable as he presents himself as standing up for equality and social mobility against the forces of educational progressivism. In this post I argue that he does this through a doublespeak in which he simultaneously reasserts elitism.

Mr Cameron, do you really know what young people aspire to?

Written by Laura (Researcher). Posted in Featured, News

While on a recent trip to Liberia, David Cameron told young people there that “If you ask children in the UK, all they want to be is pop stars and footballers”. This recent quip by the Prime Minister reveals a dismissive attitude towards young people and a narrow vision of their aspirations. It seems that in Cameron’s view, there are only certain kinds of aspirations that really count. Starting a business, buying a house and professional careers in medicine and law, get full marks from Cameron, while dreams of success in music or sport cause concern. This all feels somewhat ironic given the summer of 2012 was all about celebrating the UK’s sporting (and musical) talent.  Cameron’s comments are exactly what we’re trying to challenge in our research with young people in the UK, as part of an ESRC-funded project about celebrity culture and aspirations.

Class and femininity: From tween girls to white trash celebrities

Written by Kim. Posted in Featured, News

Two key themes emerged for us from the Gender, Media and Generation conference. In another post we explore how race and masculinity were absent presences throughout the day, and in a final short post reflect on working as feminist scholars in contemporary climate of academia. In this post we explore what speakers had to say about social class and femininity and how this relates to our own research.

Caitlin Moran: We need people treating celebrity “with the importance it deserves”

Written by Heather. Posted in Featured, News

We were delighted to see Caitlin Moran telling John Lanchester why celebrity culture is too important to leave to the gossip magazines. She explains how celebrity seems to be confined to the likes of OK, Heat and Hello  which tend to reduce the discussion to “always being, ‘well, she’s sweaty, she’s fat, she couldn’t hold it together’, end”. Instead Moran wants to see people “treating it with the importance it deserves”. Laura, Kim and I are spending a lot of time doing just that through this project and feel lucky that we managed to convince the ESRC that it was worth £170k. Despite welcoming this intervention from Moran and her earlier one into debates on feminism, we have a few qualms about one aspect of what she said…

When I grow up I want to be….

Written by Kim. Posted in Featured, News

A Facebook message appears in my inbox. A 30th birthday party invite from a close friend.  The party has a ‘fancy dress’ theme: ‘What did you want to be when you grew up…. ?’  A mixture of feelings comes over me: excitement at celebrating a close friend’s special birthday; anticipation at the varied outfits and guises that will great me; and anxiety as I think about my child self…. What did I want to be when I grew up?  Will it be different enough, ambitious enough? Will my childhood dreams of ‘becoming’ reflect where I am now? What will these dreams say to others about the person I have become?…

I was reminded of these thoughts as I listened to a recent podcast of the BBC Radio 4 programme Woman’s Hour featuring a discussion on school children’s aspirations. The segment opened with the voices of a group of 7-year old pupils from a school in Bromley, South London. What did they want to be when they grew up? The responses were varied, from the ‘traditional’ and solid to the vague and, well, interesting….

Address

  • School of Sport and Education, Brunel University
    Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 3PH

Contact

Follow Us

Celebrity Culture and Young People’s Aspirations

Built with HTML5 and CSS3
Copyright © 2012 CelebYouth.org

Web Design by Bowler Hat