Celebrity, Late Modernity and the Celebration of Crime

Jayne Mooney, Middlesex University
Jock Young, Middlesex University

The economic and social chnges concomitant with globalisation give rise to the identity crises of late modernity.The shift occurs from the politics of class to the identity politics and the stratfications of status and celebrity, witness the work of Nancy Fraser and Lawrence Friedman. The uncertainties of identity leads to the seeking out of both positive and negative points of orientation: bright and dark stars of fixed position. Thus at the same time as we have a demonisation(othering) of the underclass we have the idealisation of the celebrity.Both crime and celebrity become the basic commodities of the spectaclre. Contradictions and crossover in the discourses of suceess and failure give rise to the nemesis and cronus effects. The detachment of vocabularies of motive from fixed structural position in late modernity results in freefloating ,mediated discourses which both shape crime and evoke celebrity; the Mafia and images of Serial Killers are used as examples.

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Updated 05/20/2006