Celebrity Couples Conference – Southampton November 2012

I’m speaking at this exciting conference in November. My paper aims to explore the phenomenon of the ‘power couple’ by examining the case of Beyonce and Jay-Z .It will explore how they have created and managed an image where authenticity is both the overriding trope and a fundamental component of their success. It will examine Beyonce’s first step into social networking with the recently released personal Tumblr account and that of their daughter, as a mechanism through which the couple display a tightly defined brand through their conspicuous consumption and the ‘intimacy’ of their marriage through a carefully controlled set of images.

The conference seeks to explore the phenomenon of the celebrity power couple: those relationships where two stars come together and where their individual identities as celebrities become inseparable from their status as a famous couple. With the prominence of one-name couples (Brangelina, TomKat) and famous families (Will Smith / Jada Pinkett Smith and kids), it is becoming increasingly clear that celebrity is no longer an individual pursuit (if it ever was). When combining forces through agents and managers, these couples can straddle different celebrity spheres (David and Victoria Beckham). Also, in the neoliberal, postfeminist present, these (in)famous relationships are often bound up in cultural and legal politics of kinship (Ellen Degeneres and Portia deRossi’s wedding in the midst of debates about gay marriage laws, and famous politicians like the Clintons). The overriding questions of this conference are therefore: How do celebrities use relationships to further their fame / power? And how does celebrity culture engage with / reflect / influence the culture and politics of kinship?

More information can be found here….