The immortalisation of celebrities.

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Abstract

In this chapter I discuss the techniques and technologies that have evolved through history for bestowing immortality on individuals, and examine these in the world of contemporary celebrity. Immortality can be bestowed on an individual the moment part of their person – a recognisable representation of their face, a name on a street or building, or a recording of their voice – is released into material culture through some form of communication medium. Alternatively the person may be housed in another human body, in the form of impersonation. Either way, the experience for the honoured individual is that of replication. There is an important distinction between the practice of bestowing immortality from the posthumous celebration of a life. Death is not by any means a precondition for immortalisation, even if many of its most explicit artefacts (statues, for example) are only brought into existence after death.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPostmortal society: Multidisciplinary perspectives on death, survivalism and immortality in contemporary culture
Number of pages264
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • celebrity
  • fame
  • media
  • death
  • immortalisation
  • mortality
  • culture

Cite this

Giles, D. (2017). The immortalisation of celebrities. In Postmortal society: Multidisciplinary perspectives on death, survivalism and immortality in contemporary culture https://www.routledge.com/Postmortal-Society-Towards-a-Sociology-of-Immortality/Jacobsen/p/book/9781472485588