Yesterday 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.
Posts Tagged ‘Kim Kardashian’
All of the young people we’ve interviewed distinguish between good reasons and bad reasons for being famous. Kim’s written about the frequent disgust directed towards Kim Kardashian both in our interviews and in the media – not only is she called upon as an example of ‘famous for nothing’ celebrity, but she is seen to have risen to fame via a sex tape and has chosen ‘inappropriate’ bumpwear consisting of tight clothing and lowcut tops. However, it’s in 15-year-old Giovanni Plowman, aka Tampon Girl, that we can most clearly see the strong association between female bodies and notions of ‘undeserving’ celebrity. In January 2013 Giovanni Plowman uploaded a video of herself to YouTube which showed her sucking on a used tampon – after she’s removed it off camera – and then throwing up, also off camera. She shot to fame overnight – even becoming an internet meme. What shocks me, isn’t the video itself, it’s the reaction: the widespread – almost universal – disgust that her actions, and she, elicit both online and from the young people we’ve met in our research.
The team have now started collecting data on our 12 case study celebrities. Over the next six months we will be collecting data from an array of sources – including Twitter, Facebook and national newspapers – as we track the media representations of our case study celebs and discourses of aspiration within these. We will also be analysing other supplementary texts that appear to be central to their celebrity image and ‘back story’ including their autobiographies, documentaries, and their TV shows, films or music. As Heather recently reported, these additional sources are wide and varied – culminating in a rather bizarre but completely legitimate Amazon order from Brunel University. In this post, Kim makes some emerging observations from the case study data collection, and remakes on the inescapability of one celebrity in particular.
I’ve recently submitted my strangest work-related Amazon order ever for research materials to support our case studies of twelve celebrities so I thought I’d share it via the blog. We’ve picked twelve celebrities who came up repeatedly in our group interviews and who seemed to have significance for the young people to whom we spoke. They are: Beyonce, Bill Gates, Emma Watson, Justin Bieber, Kate Middleton, Katie Price, Kim Kardashian, Mario Balotelli, Nicki Minaj, Prince Harry, Tom Daley and Will Smith. In addition to focusing on three sources of data across six months, we’re swotting up on our case study celebs’ back stories hence the Amazon order. So, what did we choose?
Interviewer: Is there anything you would like to be known for [in the future]?
Jason: Um, no, not right now.
Our first phase of data collection is almost complete, and the team are currently working their way through pages upon pages of transcripts from 24 group interviews with year 10 and 12 pupils from six schools across England. In this post, Kim reflects on some of the emerging findings and the thornier methodological issues arising for us as a team.
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…
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.
We’re now about half way through the group interviews with young people aged 14 to 17. When we finish next term we will have talked to about 150 people across six schools in London, the South West and the North West of England. All school names used are pseudonyms. From these data we are going to select 12 celebrities to explore as case studies – delving into the discourses of aspiration that feature in talk about them. In a recent meeting we came up with this list of 12 based on the first half of the interviews…
After a lot of work finding schools, we have begun fieldwork and carried out six focus groups in two schools. In this post, we (Kim and Heather) share some of the things that surprised us in our 14 to 17 year-old participants’ talk about celebrities – from arguments about diver Tom Daley to animated discussions of classic Hollywood and Bollywood film stars.