The Meanings of a Star: Interpreting Music Fans' Reviews
This article both elaborates on and empirically supports Norman Denzin's thesis on the political aesthetics of interpretation. Through a reading of consumer reviews, I discuss both the image and the music of the contemporary pop star Avril Lavigne by combining analytic tools derived from dramaturgy and social semiotics. Specifically, I present consumer reviews of Avril Lavigne's public persona as interpretive acts that decode the practices of production, distribution, and consumption of her alleged subcultural authenticity. I discuss the importance of understanding interpretation as a practice of cultural resistance against the pervasive force of consumerist ideologies and hegemonic mass media discourses. In addition, I reflect on the usefulness of a symbolic interactionist approach to a cultural studies based on Peircean semiotics and Goffmanian dramaturgy.