P David Marshall holds a Professorship and Personal Chair in New Media, Communication and Cultural Studies at Deakin University in Melbourne Australia. He is the world-leading scholar in the study of celebrity and public personality systems. Along with many articles and book chapters, Professor Marshall’s books include Celebrity and Power (Minnesota, 2nd edition 2014), Celebrity Persona Pandemic (Minnesota, 2016), New Media Cultures (Oxford Arnold, 2004), Web Theory (2003) and Fame Games (Cambridge, 2000). His edited or co-edited books include A Companion to Celebrity (Blackwell-Wiley, 2016), Contemporary Publics (Palgrave, 2016), and The Celebrity Culture Reader (Routledge, 2006). His current research has focussed on the concept of persona and the now associated sub-field of Persona Studies which investigates the strategic construction of the public display of the self, both in its online forms and in other transforming contexts. His forthcoming research and publications include: the General Editor of the 6-volume Cultural History of Fame (for Bloomsbury Academic), the co-authored Advertising and Promotional Cultures: Case Histories (Palgrave, Jan. 2018), Persona Studies: An Introduction (early 2019) and the future book Emoji Culture and Gestural Communication (McGill Queens University Press, 2020). His expertise has led to interviews published in the New York Times, Globe and Mail and the Sydney Morning Herald as well as appearances on other legacy media including the BBC, CNN, Fox News, the ABC and many other media outlets around the world. Professor Marshall has also appeared in the recent documentary film about celebrity called Big in Japan (2017). Along with occasionally publishing more journalistic articles and other media, he maintains a very intermittent personal blog at www.pdavidmarshall.com
Persona Studies’ Future: Disciplinary Intersections and the New Era of the Negotiated Public Self
By P David Marshall
One of the key strengths of the emerging field of persona studies is its intersection with different disciplines of inquiry. With origins that are connected to media and communication and cultural studies and their particular re-reading of digital media and online culture, persona studies has presented an intellectual pathway that has drawn on fields derived from sociology, technology studies, political science, critical consumer and marketing studies, psychology and social psychology, game studies, cultural history, leadership studies, visual arts, professional studies, education, cultural anthropology, philosophy, linguistics and semiotics, theatre and performance studies along with many other disciplines. Its exploration of the transforming public self has helped to inform the ways in which even these fields listed above and their representative figures and sense of intellectual coherence as disciplines are shifting in this era where the redefined public self is reshaping the wider dimensions of what we have come to understand as stable configurations of how the world functions.
This paper will investigate this complex and intersecting future of persona studies through an exploration of the value of the disciplinary connections and convergences that its wide study of the public self is allowing us to see more clearly. From this vantage point, it will then begin defining why we should define this current moment as the new era of the negotiated public self. The concept of negotiation is central to both understanding the work of persona studies and how persona studies has the connected mission of helping all of us determine the dichotomous value of the sharing of our public selves and regulating in some way the mining of the data of our self for other ends and directions. It will conclude with some key areas that need further exploration in persona studies to assist in understanding this new negotiated public self.