Publication details [#63190]

King, Claire Sisco. 2017. Hitching wagons to stars: celebrity, metonymy, hegemony, and the case of Will Smith. Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 14 (1) : 83–102.
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Article in journal
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Place, Publisher


Representations of celebrities act as politically and culturally significant resources for the construction, regulation, and even contestation of hegemonic discourses about race and gender in the United States. Not simply meaningful or important to fans, star images may also provide resources to critics aiming to interrogate and intervene against potentially oppressive cultural norms. Forwarding an approach called metonymic criticism, this paper claims that the associative logic of metonymy plays a central role in both the articulation of celebrity personae and the operations of hegemonic discourse formations. The analysis evolves by considering the case of a star whose public image has unique probative value for studying the intersecting discourses of race and gender in US culture: Will Smith.