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Beyond IdolsThe Shape of a Secular Society$
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Richard K. Fenn

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195143690

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195143698.001.0001

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Heroes, Charismatic Figures, and Celebrities as Cultural Idols

Heroes, Charismatic Figures, and Celebrities as Cultural Idols

Chapter:
(p.62) 3 Heroes, Charismatic Figures, and Celebrities as Cultural Idols
Source:
Beyond Idols
Author(s):

Richard K. Fenn (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195143698.003.0004

Civil religion uses public religiosity, national holidays, and public education to guard against deviant and autonomous expressions of individualism. Civil religion seeks to co‐opt the heroes and celebrities, both living and dead, as representatives and defenders of the social order. However, in societies that lose their monopoly on the sacred, heroes and celebrities represent hitherto forbidden or hidden possibilities for selfhood and satisfaction. The less successful the churches and the nation are in institutionalizing the sacred, the less likely individuals are to surrender their autonomy in return for recognition and support from the larger society.

Keywords:   autonomy, celebrities, celebrity, civil religion, hero, individual, individualism, monopoly, sacred

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