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Stance and the construction of authentic celebrity persona

  • Mary-Caitlyn Valentinsson (a1)

The American performance artist Lady Gaga has earned great notoriety in the mainstream media through artistic and personal performance, as well as for her relationships both with her fandom and the media. In this article, I discuss the linguistic stance-taking moves that Lady Gaga uses in two different communicative media in order to construct an authentic celebrity persona. Through references to intimate relationships, inclusive plural pronouns, and demonstration of attention to fan conversations, Lady Gaga's Twitter posts create a stance of alignment with the ‘ordinary’ people in her fan base. Conversely, by using combative and corrective rhetorical strategies in interviews with journalists, she creates a stance of disalignment with mass media establishment. Together, these linguistic strategies allow Lady Gaga's claims to authenticity to be seen as morally credible. This work highlights the central role that language plays in constructing an authentic-seeming public persona. (Authenticity, stance, celebrity, Lady Gaga, media, interview, Twitter)*

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Address for correspondence:Department of Linguistics, University of Arizona1100 E. University Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85721,
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Versions of this article have benefitted from feedback by many people: Maryam Bakht, Elise Bell, Ignasi Clemente, Emily Corvi, Bill Cotter, Shiloh Drake, Megan Figueroa, Andrea Holm, Norma Mendoza-Denton, Jessica Ray, Tyanna Slobe, Signe Valentinsson, and Qing Zhang, as well as from the editors of Language in Society and two anonymous reviewers. Audiences at GURT 2011, the 2011 BMCC Language, Culture and Society Conference, and the 5th Biennial Rice Linguistics Society Conference in 2013 also provided important comments.

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Language in Society
  • ISSN: 0047-4045
  • EISSN: 1469-8013
  • URL: /core/journals/language-in-society
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