Coluche and Posthumous Celebrity: Competing and Consensual Media Discourses

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The French comic, actor and humanitarian Coluche represents an important and enduring example of celebrity in contemporary France, yet little academic attention has been paid particularly to his posthumous significance. A detailed survey of French press and television coverage over the last decade reveals competing media discourses concerning his importance as a source of nostalgia, accusations of vulgarity and racism in his work, and his portrayal in the 2008 biopic Coluche, l’histoire d’un mec. At the same time, coverage generates more consensual representations of Coluche - as an ordinary and extraordinary star, a political activist, an LGBTQ-friendly figure, a representative of a French biker culture based on social solidarity, a distinguished public figure worthy of comparison with other well-known individuals, a subject for impersonation, and a source of inspiration to other performers. In addition, Coluche’s case study indicates possible media-specific approaches to the representation of posthumous celebrity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-341
Number of pages19
JournalModern and Contemporary France
Issue number3
Early online date19 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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