The Celebritization of the Public Sphere


Researcher(s) (CIMS)

Olivier Driessens

Supervisors (other)

Prof. dr. Hans Verstraeten


The democratization and diversification of celebrity together with the migration of media and entertainment celebrities into non-entertainment societal fields has turned celebrity into a defining characteristic of our modern media-saturated societies. The first aim of this (article based) PhD-project is to gain a better theoretical understanding of this celebritization process through analyzing its relationship with mediatization, personalization and commodification on the one hand and through integrating celebrity into Bourdieu’s field theory on the other hand. A central starting point of this research is that celebrities are never ideologically neutral and should be conceived of as sites of socio-political struggle. Both implicitly (as embodiments) and explicitly (through endorsements), celebrities contribute to the public sphere. The second aim therefore is to study the role of celebrities in the public sphere. Here, the focus is on the social and political involvement of celebrities (cf. supra, the migration of celebrity), which is studied through in-depth interviews with Flemish celebrities.