When a celebrity dies... Social identity, uses of social media and mourning process among fans - The case of Michael Jackson
Mis à jour le 15 avril 2016
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Article d’une revue nationale ou internationale répertoriée par le HCERES (ACL)

COURBET D & FOURQUET-COURBET M.-P (2014). "When a celebrity dies... Social identity, uses of social media and mourning process among fans - The case of Michael Jackson". Celebrity Studies, 5 (3), 275-290. doi:10.1080/19392397.2013.872361  

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Résumé :

The present qualitative survey studies fans’ reactions to the death of Michael Jackson (MJ). We put forward the hypothesis that the time of a celebrity’s death is when the researcher can most fully understand certain psychological and social functions of the celebrity in question. The results highlight that the relationship between fans and celebrities can be mediated by a third person, a loved one who is part of the entourage of the fan. The fan is emotionally attached to this person. We explain how the use of interpersonal communications and social media operate differently depending on whether the fan has based the construction of their identity on the image of MJ (which is of course a complex process) or on their position as a member of the social group of fans. Fans whose identity was based on MJ need to rearrange their model of personal identity. The results underline five functions of social media in the mourning process. They also show that prolonged use of social media could be associated with a slower resolution of the fans’ mourning process. These results are aimed at gaining a better understanding of the relationships between celebrities and their fans, especially parasocial interactions and the role played by celebrities in the construction of fan identity.


Mots-clés :

social media, fans, social identity, parasocial interactions, mourning process


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