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Course Description
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Celebrity, Society and the Media
University of Westminster
London, England

Subject Area(s) Level(s) Instruction in Credits Contact Hours Prerequisites
Sociology 200 English 4 50 N/A

Society has idolised, lionised and vilified celebrities from the Greek chorus to today's tabloids.  This module charts the history of celebrity worship from Cleopatra to J-Lo , concentrating on the delicate partnership between society, the media and the celebrities they create.  The hunger for insider information about the lives of the rich and famous increases during times of social and political change. We examine how the media manipulate this appetite through gossip and innuendo as well as und erstanding how columnists from Daniel DeFoe to Walter Winchell forged careers by giving the public the low-down on high society.  We explore the psychological and economic dangers facing fans who have made film and soap stars as familiar as extended family members and whose idea of keeping up with the Jones's no longer means the neighbours next door, but the Beckhams.   Beyond the making of a celebrity, we confront The Tall Poppy Syndrome -- the need for the public and the media to destroy the celebrity they raised to great heights as well as the celebrities whose driving need is to be famous, even for only the 15 minutes Andy Warhol predicted.

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