Document Type

Honors Thesis


Within this thesis, the celebrity careers of Beyoncé and Michael Jackson will be evaluated while keeping in mind the classic theory of parasocial interaction and parasocial relationships. Donald Horton and Richard Wohl penned the classic parasocial interaction theory in 1956 speaking of the persona, a celebrity, and the one-sided relationships spectators develop with personas. What is not said by Horton and Wohl, and what is said in this thesis, is that although the celebrity persona may not be aware they are involved in a parasocial relationship, their actions contribute to the creation of a parasocial relationship. By examining scholarly articles, celebrity readers and journals, enough research was gathered to create a foundation for my argument. When it came to the case studies on Beyoncé and Michael Jackson, an approach of evaluating song lyrics and music videos was used, as well as evaluating popular websites such as Billboard and Rolling Stone. Overall, the approach of scholarly research combined with music lyrics and videos, as well as articles led to a conclusion expanding upon the original thoughts of Horton and Wohl’s parasocial interaction theory.



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