The reification of celebrity : global newspaper coverage of the death of David Bowie

BLACK, Jack (2016). The reification of celebrity : global newspaper coverage of the death of David Bowie. International Review of Sociology, 27 (1), 202-224.

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This paper examines global English language newspaper coverage of the death of David Bowie. Drawing upon the concept of reification, it is argued that the notion of celebrity is discursively (re)produced and configured through a ‘public face’ that is defined, maintained and shaped via media reports and public responses that aim to know and reflect upon celebrity. In this paper, the findings highlight how Bowie’s reification was supported by discourses that represented him as an observable, reified form. Here, Bowie’s ‘reality’, that is, his authentic/veridical self, was obscured behind a façade of mediation, interpretation and representation, that debated and decided his ‘authenticity’ as a cultural icon. Such debates, however, were engagements with a reified image, enveloped in continual (re)interpretation. As a result, Bowie’s reification was grounded in a polysemous process that allowed numerous versions of ‘himself’ to be aesthetically reimagined, reinvented and repeated. Keywords: Reification, authenticity, celebrity, Lukács, media, David Bowie, celebrity death, audience, fan, public

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sport Industry Research Centre
Identification Number:
Page Range: 202-224
Depositing User: Jack Black
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2016 11:08
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 00:50

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