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Fame: The Psychology of Stardom [Paperback]

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Item description for Fame: The Psychology of Stardom by Andrew Ewans & Glenn D. Wilson...

Fame is a potent commodity-and a fickle one. Images of stars flood our newspapers, magazines and televisions, with increasing coverage given to those who achieve fleeting notoriety through bizarre and extraordinary means. Wilson and Evans open the door on the industry and investigate the talent, media hype and ambition of celebrities today. Uncovering the inner world of famous people from the arenas of TV, film, sport and music, this book exposes the downside of fame and offers advice on how to cope with being famous-or being a star-struck fan.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.5"
Weight:   0.7 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2001
Publisher   Vision
ISBN  1901250245  
ISBN13  9781901250244  

Availability  0 units.

More About Andrew Ewans & Glenn D. Wilson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Glenn D. Wilson is a professor at the University of London's Institute of Psychiatry and an adjunct professor at the University of Nevada. He is the author of "Creative Loveplay," "The Great Sex Divide," and "The Science of Love," Jon Cousins works with Glenn D. Wilson at an online dating agency based on the CQ principle, He lives in San Diego, California.

Glenn D. Wilson has an academic affiliation as follows - Visiting Professor, Gresham College, U.K. University of London Visitin.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Performing Arts
2Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Performing Arts
3Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Psychology & Counseling > General
4Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Psychology & Counseling > Social Psychology & Interactions
5Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Self-Help > General
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Popular Culture
7Books > Subjects > Sports > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Fame: The Psychology of Stardom?

If you are interested in why famous people such as Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton behave the way that they do, and why child stars are so susceptible to alcohol and drug abuse, this book will explain it with a thorough, in-depth, psychological explanation without getting too clinical.

Essentially, this book embraces four theories on why stardom causes problems by sharing insights and notes from clinical psychologists who have concluded that patients who are famous are commonly treated for problems associated with happiness (or lack thereof); sadness (inability to overcome it); anger (stemming from depression); and fear (of losing their fame or never becoming happy).

Central to these theories - and perhaps most interestingly - are the characteristics that the famous have in common such as the need for exhibitionism and parental attention, and the thin line that exists between creative genius and psychosis. We all have heard these sayings before in laymen's terms, but until this comprehensive book, it wasn't investigated and documented in this way.
Stardom is a fascinating psychological phenomenon of today.  Mar 14, 2000

Andrew Evans and Glenn D. Wilson. Fame: The Psychology of Stardom. London: Vision (1999). Paperback: pp. x+178. ISBN 1-901250-24-5. £9.99.

Stardom is a fascinating psychological phenomenon, providing a window through which we witness basic emotional processes; as such, it is a topic worthy of serious scientific attention. Although history is punctuated with the famous, the 20th century saw the full-scale manufacture of stars and celebrities; and the fantasy world of the movie idol and soap character is now interwoven into the fabric of popular culture and today represents an important element of our social environment.

Popular culture - often disparaged as lacking in theoretical substance - is central to psychology: its contents may be transient, but the underlying realities that it reflects are not. As Evans and Wilson point out, in the Selfish Gene (1976), Richard Dawkins states: "The evolution of the capacity to simulate seems to have culminated in subjective consciousness. Why this should have happened is, to me, the most profound mystery facing modern biology. Perhaps consciousness arises when the brain's simulation of the world becomes so complete that it must include a model of itself". One technological expression of this fundamental biological drive is the creation of the artificial psychological realms that the cinema and television brings to us daily; earlier, Shakespeare served a similar function, providing us with characters and events through which we could vicariously model perennial psychological dilemmas. Evans and Wilson's highly readable book tackles this difficult topic in a way that is sure to inform and delight in equal measure.

The book covers a number of themes. Chapter 1 (Whence Fame) discusses the historical development of fame, from the Kings of the Old Testament to the soap stars of today; and chapter 2 (Fame and the Media), the nature of the communication of fame via music, photographs, product names (e.g., Mercedes, the daughter of Benz) and awards (e.g., Nobel/Pulitzer), as well as the manipulation of the media by celebrities. Chapter 3 (Stars and their Audiences) covers the commercial creation of audiences by the building of theatres and cinemas and the creation of stars. Evans and Wilson survey the psychological ties to stars that involve emotional affinity (usually same sex; e.g., for a man having the confidence and raw energy of Brando; for a women the feminine allure of Munroe); self-identification (to be in the star's role); imitation (role modelling), and projection (the assignment of unconscious emotions to others who act out our desires on the screen). Chapter 4 (Factors in Fame) traces the sources of fame (i.e., born, made, serendipity/notoriety), including the factors that promote fame in the aspirant, e.g., name changes (Frances Gumm became Judy Garland; Archie Leach, Cary Grant; Marion Morrison, John Wayne), motivation and high psychoticism (tough mindedness), reflecting the pursuit of pleasure (high dopamine levels) and the absence of behavioural restraint (low serotonin; associated with this neurotransmitter, depression is not uncommon among stars, and alcohol/drug abuse seems almost a requirement of the job).

Chapter 5 (Becoming Famous) discusses the dubious pleasures of fame, often leading to the highlighting of psychological weaknesses (many stars seek psychiatric help). Chapter 6 (Fame in the Family) focuses on child stars and the influence of parents on their careers, including the pathological problems that frequently develop when the child star hits adulthood. Chapter 7 (Fans and Fan Behaviour) addresses the behaviour of fans, including how they imitate their idols and the psychological dynamics behind their devotion, including discussion of stalkers and actual murders of idols (e.g., Mark Chapman's killing of John Lennon). Chapter 8 (The Social Context of Fame) presents the phenomenon of the "star environment", i.e., the social realms of interrelations that are constructed by and for stars.

Chapter 9 (The Downside of Fame) looks into the frequently found slide into self-centredness, narcissism and grandiosity, as well as the phenomenon of stage fright that afflicts many famous actors (e.g., Lawrence Olivier and Richard Burton); and, more disturbing, the blurring of the line between actors and their fictional characters (the most extreme example involved a soap star in Brazil who actually murdered his female co-star following a soap scene in which she rejected him!). Finally, Chapter 10 (Coping with Fame) examines the pressures on the famous (e.g., dealing with inevitable failure in a world dominated by success); and the strategies and therapies for coping with such maladies as stage fright, burnout, fear of other famous people, career setbacks, etc. To be sure, all that glisters is not gold!

Evans and Wilson's book is an excellent introduction to fame and stardom; and it should prove an indispensable text for specialised courses in media and communication studies. Also, as it provides a rich source of everyday examples of human behaviour, in conjunction with standard psychology texts it may be utilised by undergraduate psychology students to explore psychological theories of behaviour. Why do people so closely identify with the personal lives of actors? Why are we attracted to horror films? Why are we so interested in the make-believe, fictional dilemmas of soap characters? Why are successful stars so often unhappy? Are personality traits important in success? What are the implications of this form of popular culture for scientific theories of consciousness? Is genius 99 percent perspiration, 1 percent inspiration? Are creativity and emotional instability cut from the same cloth? All human science libraries should purchase a copy of this inexpensive and fun book.

Philip J. Corr


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