The American Sociologist

, Volume 44, Issue 2, pp 117-131

First online:

Professor Goes Gaga: Teaching Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame

  • Mathieu DeflemAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, University of South Carolina Email author 

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This paper presents an account of the conditions and consequences of a university-level teaching experience in the sociology of fame centered on the case of Lady Gaga. When the course “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of the Fame” at the University of South Carolina was announced in the autumn of 2010, it became the number-one Lady Gaga news story, reported and discussed in a wide variety of internet sources and media outlets across the world. The unprecedented attention devoted to the course placed its instructor in an unexpected and unique position to experience various dimensions of contemporary celebrity culture while teaching on that very subject matter. This paper offers a sociological autobiography to discuss this experience as a manifestation of the reflexivity of social knowledge and the interplay between sociology and society.


Fame Celebrity Teaching Lady Gaga Autobiography