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Celebrity and Youth

Mediated Audiences, Fame Aspirations, and Identity Formation

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Edited By Spring-Serenity Duvall

Celebrity and Youth: Mediated Audiences, Fame Aspirations, and Identity Formation makes an examination of contemporary celebrity culture with an emphasis on how young celebrities are manufactured, how fan communities are cultivated, and how young audiences consume and aspire to fame. This book foregrounds considerations of diversity within celebrity and fan cultures, and takes an international perspective on the production of stardom. Chapters include interviews with professional athletes in the United States about their experiences with stardom after coming out as gay, and interviews with young people in Europe about their consumption of celebrity and aspirations of achieving fame via social media. Other chapters include interviews with young Canadian women that illuminate the potential influence of famous feminists on audience political engagement, and critical analysis of media narratives about race, happiness, cultural appropriation, and popular feminisms. The current anthology brings together scholarship from Canada, the United States, Spain, and Portugal to demonstrate the pervasive reach of global celebrity, as well as the commonality of youth experiences with celebrity in diverse cultural settings.

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Chapter 4: Adolescents as Cultural Activists: Remixing Celebrities in Fandom Communities (Pilar Lacasa / Julián de la Fuente / Sara Cortés / María Ruth García-Pernía)

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CHAPTER FOUR

Adolescents as Cultural Activists

Remixing Celebrities in Fandom Communities

PILAR LACASA,1 JULIÁN DE LA FUENTE, SARA CORTÉS, MARÍA RUTH GARCÍA-PERNÍA



Introduction

This chapter explores the practices of a group of teenage girls who are part of a fan community organized around music celebrities (Duffett, 2014a). We consider them activists in the context of popular culture (Jenkins, 1992/2013) as they participate in the community with other fans using multimodal discourse (Kress, 2010). In this chapter, we regard these celebrities as a collective construction linked by emotional ties that connect the community. In addition, fans’ activities are understood to be a form of social action which we consider, in the broadest sense of the term, to be activism (Hartley, 2010; Ratto & Boler, 2014). We base our definition of “activism” on the works of Robinson and Rundell (1994) in order to examine the culture work that stands between creative and critical practices (Duvall, 2010). We analyze multimodal discourse as a form of expression which is rebuilt as it circulates through a network.

We focus on fans of two musical groups whose members are international celebrities who are admired by fans and garner extensive media attention. Also, brands have been built around these bands with the goal of achieving commercial success (selling records as well as merchandising) and filling their concerts when they tour around the world (Wohlfeil,...

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