Celebrity Morals and the Loss of Religious Authority

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
John Portmann
  • New York, NY: 
    Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group
    , May
     2019.
     168 pages.
     $140.00.
     Hardcover.
    ISBN
    9780367221386.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.

Description

This book examines American popular culture to demonstrate that celebrities have superseded religious figures as moral authorities. As trust in religious institutions has waned over recent decades, the once frivolous entertainment fringe has become the moral center. Young people and voters increasingly take cues from actors and athletes. The book begins by offering a definition of celebrity and showing that the profile of celebrities has changed dramatically, particularly since the 1960s. They can now chart their own careers, manage their own personal lives and weigh in on pressing moral issues in a manner that hasn't always been the case. This can be to the good, it is argued, for some counterintuitive reasons. Very few stars pretend to be moral exemplars, unlike the frequently hypocritical elites they have replaced. Others, however, are seemingly poorly qualified to speak on complex moral issues. In the end, it also turns out that who tells us how to feel about any moral issue counts at least as much as what they tell us. This is a fresh look at the impact of celebrity culture on contemporary morality and religious authority. As such, it will be of great use to academics working in religious studies and ethics, as well as popular culture and media studies. bout any moral issue counts at least as much as what they tell us. This is a fresh look at the impact of celebrity culture on contemporary morality and religious authority. As such, it will be of great use to academics working in religious studies and ethics, as well as popular culture and media studies.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

John Portmann is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. He has written seven previous monographs, including Women and Gay Men in the Postwar Period (2016), The Ethics of Sex and Alzheimer's (2013), and Catholic Culture in the USA (2009) and has also edited an anthology on sin.

Add New Comment

Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.

Log in to post comments