Organized by University of Bologna: Department for Life Quality Studies, Department of the Arts (DAR – La Soffitta), Department of Political and Social Sciences, INC (Italian Research Network in Celebrity Culture), in collaboration with CFC (Culture, Fashion, Communication) and CoMediaS (Comunicazione, Media e Spazio Pubblico).


The emergency and exceptional situations linked to crisis contexts involve a series of urgencies and perspectives that also affect the world of celebrities. Depending on the type of crisis in progress, the media define new celebrities, or place an emphasis on the actions of already known personalities. An example is Greta Thunberg, who has become an icon of the climate crisis, known to the general public above all for the importance that mass media have given to her words and actions. Or the recent “celebrities with white coats”, so called to emphasize the social importance and media presence of medical experts in the Covid 19 emergency. There seems to be a lack of systematic reflection, which instead leads to an analysis of the effects and consequences of the actions of celebrities in crisis situations.

It is possible to trace two reference macro-groups: celebrities who are born in crisis situations (and who are therefore closely connected to them) and celebrities already known, who change their behavior during crises. For the latter, the reflections usually seem to concern the differences that crises determine with respect to a normal routine, due to a change undergone with respect to the public image (for example the breakdown of a relationship due to the betrayal of the partner) or, on the contrary, for the realization of an ‘out of the box’ action, managed and voluntarily activated (such as participation in humanitarian aid).

Starting from these first considerations, the conference calls for the investigation of the active role of celebrities, understood as social phenomena, images, signs, in the culture of the crisis: in the contemporary context, but also following a historical perspective.