The Sociology of Gossip

In this video from TEDxVancouver Elaine Lui, writer of a popular celebrity gossip blog, talks about what exactly ‘gossip’ is and why people care. She makes an interesting case about the complexity of the ecosystem surrounding modern celebrity. What’s perhaps more contentious is her claim that as a ‘professional gossip’ she studies the celebrity ecosystem in the same way a natural scientist studies a particular environment. However if we put to one side the overstatement which is practically demanded by TED events, is it really such a silly claim? Perhaps there’s some degree of applied sociological knowledge which can be seen in the crafting of a gossip site which is now read by a million people a month? Her argument that celebrity gossip, construed as a form of story telling, is significant in understanding contemporary culture certainly seems plausible when considered in terms of the sheer amount of human attention that is occupied by it each year.

Categories: Rethinking The World

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