Toward a Socio-Cultural Model for Understanding FAme-Buildling

Tapping the Potential

Abstract & “Blueprint”



       The emergent field of performance anthropology that concerns itself with the phenomena of fame and celebrity is ripe for additional research. In particular, there is ample room for investigation into the etiology of fame-building and the cultural makeup of the communities involved. Few researchers, if any, have explored this specific topic, though existing scholarly literature on fame provides a strong basis from which to proceed, even suggesting some potentially fruitful avenues to pursue. Among these avenues are: (1) correlation of celebrity morphology and personality typology to individual ability to attract and sustain public attention; (2) further exploration of determinant factors contributing to the ephemerality of certain classes of fame and celebrity; and (3) evaluation of the success rates for various strategic approaches pursued by individuals with the fame motive (and by the publicity agents who represent them).


       I believe that further investigation along these lines, accompanied by an exploration of the cultural makeup of fame-building, would yield compelling data with which to construct an evaluative instrument that might reasonably predict a candidate’s propensity for achieving fame. Such a tool could generate significant market value for publicists and aspiring fame-builders.


My research “blueprint” involves four main phases:

  • Research archived data and peer-reviewed journals from previous fame studies. This proposal represents the first component of this phase.


  • Survey famous subjects and publicists. Target subjects for this phase include public relations agencies, publicists and individuals who are presently or formerly famous.


  • Track media trends and online analytics. This phase will explore the makeup of Internet culture in fame-building. Viewer-location mapping, demographic viewership, and media trends are all retrievable data categories which offer rich insights into the communities involved in building fame.


  • Conduct participant behavioral studies. Field trials will include building followers and surveying communities involved in fame-building.