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

Palgrave Macmillan, New York, January 2017. Now $29.99 in paperback!

Scroll down for: Synopsis | Contents | ReviewsPublication

ISBN: 978-1-137-58468-7 (ebook), 978-1-137-58467-0 (hardback),
978-1-349-95938-9 (softcover)

"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 
2. Popular Culture and the Sociology of Fame
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
10. Art Pop: The Styles of Lady Gaga 
11. Conclusion
12. Epilogue: Professor Goes Gaga –Teaching Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame
12. Index


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 


This book is available for purchase in hardback, softcover, and ebook editions via:
xxxxxNow only $29.99 in paperback!
See also my related articles and essays that are available online.

See articles on fame and other books by Deflem.  LADYGAGA  enigma