What is it about?

This article studies the case of Lucía Etxebarria, a Spanish literary celebrity who participated in a celebrity reality TV show in 2013. Using Bourdieu’s concepts of field and capital, this article analyses the ambiguous hierarchical position that Etxebarria occupied in the programme and how she was evaluated according to the specific rules of reality TV: authenticity, ordinariness, performance and submission to the programme’s authority. Etxebarria was portrayed in the programme as a representative of ‘legitimate’ culture, meritocratic values and traditional definitions of ‘achieved’ fame. As such, she was the target of anti-elitist discourses conveyed by the other contestants and the programme hosts and commentators, who expressed (and exploited) anxieties regarding social and cultural inequalities, but through an individualised discourse that avoided structural explanations of and solutions to inequality.

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Why is it important?

This article contributes to gaining a better understanding of ‘downward’ field migration, as previous scholarship on celebrity migration usually examines ‘upward’ field migration. This article also makes a contribution to celebrity studies by analysing a Spanish case. As stated above, celebrity studies have focused mainly on Anglo-American celebrities, while other geographies have remained understudied. Several scholars have encouraged the geographic scope of this field of study to be broadened in order to identify continuities and discontinuities in local celebrity cultures compared to the dominant Anglo-American model. Thus, this article helps to fulfil this aim.

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This page is a summary of: From the literary field to reality TV: The perils of downward celebrity migration, European Journal of Cultural Studies, July 2019, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/1367549419861633.
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