Puppets of necessity? Celebritisation in structured reality television

Alex Thompson, Lindsay Stringfellow, Mairi Maclean, Andrew MacLaren, Kevin O’Gorman

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9 Citations (SciVal)
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Abstract: This conceptual paper uses field theory and a production of culture perspective to explore the celebritisation process in structured reality television. This relatively new genre, typified by The Only Way Is Essex, blends fiction with fact and constitutes a new, playful and interactive iteration of the broader category of reality television. We identify three culturally productive models that create new celebrity discourses and establish a theoretical underpinning for the role of structured reality in the celebritisation process; tournaments of value, spectacle and transformative performances. Whilst not exclusive to structured reality television, these models are particularly effective at explaining how celebrities are interactively understood in an increasingly mediatised marketplace. We contribute a model which proposes that celebritisation in structured reality is a homologising process through which celebrity meaning is legitimised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-501
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Marketing Management
Issue number5-6
Early online date8 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2015


  • celebritisation
  • consumer culture
  • production of culture
  • structured reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing
  • Strategy and Management


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