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October 2006, Week 2


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Sean Redmond <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 9 Oct 2006 20:17:07 -0500
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CFP:  The Star and Celebrity Confessional
Special Themed Issue: Social Semiotics
Guest Editor: Sean Redmond

Social Semiotics ( is soliciting papers for a
special themed issue on the star and celebrity confessional. The confessional, taken to be any
moment in which a star, celebrity, or fan engages in revelatory acts, has become one of the
dominant ways in which fame is circulated and consumed.

The celebrity confessional involves ‘the combination of reflexivity about the business of being a
celebrity, emotional interiority and self criticism’: and it is where the fan is ‘invited to feel with
their feelings’ (Littler, 2004: 13/18). Through the confessional text (played out in the biopic,
documentary, talk-show interview, self-reflexive song lyric, star blog, and celebrity magazine
interview), the celebrity seemingly attempts to speak openly and honestly about where they have
come from. Such a confession(s) would include their humble beginnings; the troubles, hardships
and corruption they may have faced along their journey to fame; who they really are underneath
the fame gown; and how alike they are to the everyday people who watch their films, buy their
records, go to their concerts, and watch their soccer or tennis matches. Similarly, the fan/
consumer who confesses their desire for, and identification with, the star or celebrity, on line, in
diaries, reveal a para-social relationship that is in part devotional, obsessional, but also potentially
intimate and fully lived. It is one of the mechanisms ‘through which relationships, identity, and
social and cultural norms are debated, evaluated, modified and shared’ (Turner, 2004:24).

In this Special Edition of the journal Social Semiotics, the different manifestations, meanings, and
processes of the star and celebrity confessional will be explored. Potential themes/texts/contexts/
case studies could include:

The confessional interview
The confessional song
Authenticity and artifice as modes of confessional expression
Confession as myth
The race/sex/sexuality/class of the confession
Confession as intimacy
Fan confessionals
Confession as transgression and empowerment
Confession as a form of group belonging
Religious deification and the confession
Confession as therapy
The commodity confessional text
The confessional star or celebrity
Confession as damage
Confession as obsession
The confessional talk of fame

Social Semiotics is committed to inter and cross-disciplinary approaches that are politically and
historically engaged, and on publishing papers that reveal something profound about the nature
of everyday life.

Please send your abstract (500-750 words in length), or completed essay (5,000-7,000 words,
Harvard style of referencing), plus a brief biographic statement, as e-mail attachments (in Word )
to the editor:

Sean Redmond
[log in to unmask]
Senior Lecturer in Film Studies,
Victoria University of Wellington,
New Zealand

Deadline for abstract submission: February 1st 2007

If your abstract is chosen for final consideration, you will have until October 31st (2007) to
complete the first draft. Completed Essays submitted by the February deadline will have a similar
period of time for any re-drafting that needs to be done.

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