Joseph Nathan Cohen

Department of Sociology, CUNY Queens College, New York, NY

Theories of Fame, Its Acquisition, and Its Loss

What is fame? How do you get it? How do you keep it?

I have completed a draft of a theory paper on the character of fame, how fame is acquired, and how it is lost.

Abstract: This paper explores the concepts of “fame” and “celebrity” and reviews recent social scientific research that might shed light on the processes that cause someone to gain or lose fame. It explores the concepts of fame and celebrity, how they are measured, and their evolution through time. It contemplates various explanations for how individuals become famous, including achievement, hype, charisma, status, becoming a symbol, and enterprise development, which often involves the adoption of marketing and consumer product business-like strategies. It discusses how celebrities stay relevant, how they can fade into obscurity, and the effects of cancellation and stigma on their fame.