Heroes, Charismatic Figures, and Celebrities as Cultural Idols

Richard K. Fenn

in Beyond Idols

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780195143690
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834174 | DOI:
Heroes, Charismatic Figures, and Celebrities as Cultural Idols

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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

Chapter.  13419 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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