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Celebrity and PowerFame in Contemporary Culture$
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P. David Marshall

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780816695621

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816695621.001.0001

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Conceptualizing the Collective: The Mob, the Crowd, the Mass, and the Audience

Conceptualizing the Collective: The Mob, the Crowd, the Mass, and the Audience

(p.27) 2 Conceptualizing the Collective: The Mob, the Crowd, the Mass, and the Audience
Celebrity and Power

P. David Marshall

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter studies the nature of the crowd and the mass that are critical for understanding the position occupied by the celebrity in contemporary society. The perception of the popular collective—often called the crowd or the mob—as powerful coincided with the development of mass democracies in Western culture in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. This relationship between the crowd and democracy is critical for understanding the divisions in modern society between the rational and the irrational, because it is instrumental in the conceptualization of the twentieth-century mass society. The celebrity can be positioned somewhere between the dominant culture’s rationalization of what it sees as irrational and the popular audience’s use, identification, and expression of the affective power that the celebrity, as a system of rationalization, has been positioned to reflect.

Keywords:   crowd, mass, celebrity, contemporary society, popular collective, mob, democracy, rational, irrational

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