Author Meets Their Readers: Robert Van Krieken's Celebrity Society

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 14:15-15:45
Location: Hörsaal 21 (Juridicum)
WG02 Historical and Comparative Sociology (host committee)

Language: English

In his book Celebrity Society, published in 2012, Robert van Krieken draws on Elias’ analysis of court society to understand the dynamics of celebrity in the contemporary world. He argues that just as Elias showed how court society functioned as a distinctive social form, we should use a similar kind of analysis of the production of habitus and specific types of social relations to analyze “celebrity society”. He suggests that we should in fact see celebrity society as the extension of, or heir to, court society, with the process and dynamics analysed by Elias transformed by the development of the mass media and new forms of communication. He offers the concept of “celebrity society” as a more sociological alternative to the widely-used term “celebrity culture”. 
This session calls for readings of this endeavour to develop Elias’ analysis of court society in a new and innovative direction, aiming to cast new light on an aspect of contemporary society that is frequently commented on, drawing on the insights provided by Elias’ Court Society, and to discuss how this analysis might be developed further. Of course it is also open to critical analysis of van Krieken’s account, identifying weaknesses or inaccuracies in the analysis, and possible alternative explanations.
Session Organizer:
Robert VAN KRIEKEN, University of Sydney, Australia