chapter  Chapter 2
Celebrity's secret
The economy of attention
WithRobert van Krieken
Pages 23

The production of celebrity both organizes attention and consumption in any particular field, turning products into a recognized face, name, and body, and also acts as the linchpin between different fields of cultural production: television, radio, film, literature, theatre, music, fashion, and politics. Gabriel Tarde understood the central role played by celebrity in the social organization of attention, with the competition between the expanding forms of mass media driving the centrality of celebrity to the economy of attention to new levels. The celebrity production process is also not a single, unified industry, but differentiated into separate sub-industries which operate to ‘couple’ the celebrity production industry to a wide range of commercial activities. There are significant economic dimensions to the production of celebrity – it has for some time been big business, a central part of the culture industry, well organized, involving large sums of money.