Using stars, not just ‘reading’ them: The roles and functions of film stars in mother-daughter relations

Sarah Ralph

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4 Citations (Scopus)
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This article explores the various and important ways in which film stars can function within mother-daughter relations over the life-cycle of their relationship. Drawing on detailed qualitative material from an interdisciplinary audience study of mothers’ and daughters’ shared relations to film stars, it demonstrates how a significant shift can be identified with regard to the kinds of roles that stars play in dyadic relations as a daughter experiences various developmental and transitional phases to adulthood. Necessitating an alternative approach to those previously employed within Star and Celebrity Studies, the article takes a significant new perspective on the study of audiences for stars from the work of art anthropologist Alfred Gell (1998) and proposes a move away from semiotic, ‘textualist’ readings of stars towards an ‘action’-centred exploration of the ways in which films stars are used and function in social interactions over the life-cycle of personal relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-38
Number of pages16
JournalCelebrity Studies
Issue number1
Early online date14 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • film stars
  • audiences
  • mother–daughter relationships
  • life cycles
  • Alfred Gell

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