Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame: The Rise of a Pop Star in an Age of Celebrity, by Mathieu Deflem (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)

Mathieu Deflem

Published by Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-137-58468-7 (ebook), 978-1-137-58467-0 (hardback)

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Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame: The Rise of a Pop Star in an Age of Celebrity by Mathieu Deflem, Professor of Sociology at the University of South Carolina, is published by Palgrave Macmillan, New York, January 2017.

"I want the fame."  –Lady Gaga, May 2008
"The last three years I spent trying to erase fame from my mind."  –Lady Gaga, September 2016
This book presents a sociological study of the fame of global pop sensation Lady Gaga. Situated at the intersection of the sociology of popular culture and music, on the one hand, and the sociology of fame and celebrity, on the other, this work specifically offers an empirical examination of the social conditions that facilitated Lady Gaga’s rise to fame from when the singer first released music in 2008 until her successful grab for global acclaim in the following years. Among the issues considered are: the marketing of Lady Gaga; the legal issues that have accompanied her career; the media and the singer's audience; her activism; issues of sex, gender, and sexuality; and the unique artistry of Lady Gaga. By training a spotlight on this singular pop icon, this book invites readers to consider the nature of contemporary stardom in an age of celebrity.

1. Introduction [online]
2. Popular Culture and the Sociology of Fame [online]
3. The Life and Times of Lady Gaga 
4. The Business of Lady Gaga 
5. The Laws of Lady Gaga 
6. Gaga Media: From Internet to Radio 
7. The Audience of Lady Gaga: Beyond the Little Monsters
8. Gaga Activism: The New Ethics of Pop Culture
9. The Sex of Lady Gaga [see related paper]
10. Art Pop: The Styles of Lady Gaga 
11. Conclusion
12. Epilogue: Professor Goes Gaga –Teaching Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame [see related paper]
12. Index [pdf]

See also: 
Gaga Articles and Essays - Freely available online papers about Lady Gaga and fame!


The analysis of status is unique to sociology. Mathieu Deflem brilliantly confirms how the creation of Lady Gaga is part of a social process that creates celebrity against the backdrop of chaotic economic and moral conditions. Deflem methodically describes how fame can shape public attitudes toward controversial matters, leaving status embodied in traditional forms of professional expertise and institutional control less important than ever before.
          – Jonathan B. Imber, Jean Glasscock Professor of Sociology, Wellesley College

There are celebrities and there are mega-celebrities and then there is Lady Gaga. The star’s fame is only in small part built upon her voice and eye-popping costumes. Far more, it is her attitude: a cheerleader to all and sundry who had ever felt broken or dissed. Grasping the fullness of Gaga’s appeal, Deflem’s book is as appealing to her fans as it is for theorists of celebrity.
          – Deena Weinstein, Professor of Sociology, DePaul University

In this notable book, through careful theoretical insight and an in-depth analysis of Lady Gaga’s fame, Mathieu Deflem illustrates a new form of pop icon defying the transient nature of the cultural industry in the postmodern age. Deflem offers valuable lessons on the importance of social conditions, which include not only the market but also factors facilitating the activism and diversity orientation of pop artists seeking to gain fame.
          – Masaya Takahashi, Associate Professor, Saitama University

Professor Deflem’s study provides an intriguing and comprehensive exploration of the dynamics of Lady Gaga’s rise to fame. By the end, it is clear that there is no single one factor that serves as a predictor of future fame or commercial success. Those who work in or study the music industry should give this book a read.
          – Serona Elton, Associate Professor and Chair, Frost School of Music, University of Miami

This book delivers a stimulating sociological discussion of the mechanics behind fame and celebrity – aspects that have undoubtedly taken a stranglehold on American culture. Guiding the reader through the machinery for stardom using a lens focused on Lady Gaga’s determined path for fame, Professor Deflem’s book is an entertaining and educational read that provides a solid groundwork for further research in the area of celebrity.
          – Danwill D. Schwender, Attorney at Law 


Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame with Dr. Mathieu Deflem - Video interview on the Philippe Matthews Show, February 3, 2017.

Lady Gaga se consolida como materia de estudio - El Mercurio (Chile), January 29, 2017.

Put On Your Poker Face... You Were Born This Way - Audio interview with Suzanne Pedro on VoiceAmerica, The Protocol Praxis, March 10, 2015.

The Lady Gaga Professor Who Became a Global Star - The Guardian, May 25, 2013.

The Fame of Lady Gaga - Video of a presentation at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC, October 19, 2011.

USC to Offer Class on Lady Gaga - Video of news segment, October 28, 2010. See also other news videos.

Lady Gaga News Features - Links to hundreds of media reports on my course, "Lady Gaga and the Sociology of the Fame," since October 2010. - Blog accompanying my related college course.

Gaga Articles and Essays - Check my online papers about fame, Lady Gaga, and popular culture!


Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame: The Rise of a Pop Star in an Age of Celebrity
by Mathieu Deflem is currently available in hardcover and ebook editions via resellers and other internet stores or through the websites of Palgrave and Springer.
A cheaper paperback will follow later this year. 
Several chapters of the book are freely available online via Google Books!

See related articles on fame and other books by Mathieu Deflem. #Joanne Joanne #LADYGAGA