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Author: Jade Alexander

Abstract

The contemporary version of flat track roller derby is commonly regarded as a highly theatrical sport that disrupts traditional sporting and gender norms by providing a space for women to experiment with their gender performance, physicality, and desirability. Existing research on roller derby predominantly focuses on either the sport’s history, or on skaters’ performance of gender and sexed embodiment. As roller derby becomes increasingly popular, however, there is an opportunity to analyse experiential aspects of celebrity and fandom at the local level. Drawing on data gathered through a mixed methodology, including observation, semi-structured interviews, and roller derby media and promotional material, I propose that skaters in Sydney’s roller derby scene achieve “local celebrity” status–although some inevitably achieve more fame than others. In this chapter I explore skaters’ negotiation of the “ordinary” and the “extraordinary” as they grapple with growing fame, often resulting in assertions that they are just “regular,” “ordinary” and/or “average” people. By examining participants’ representations of fan/celebrity contact, this chapter foregrounds the importance of touch, exploring how this aspect in particular both defines fan/celebrity encounters and effectively separates roller derby from other, more mainstream and/or professional sports and sporting events.

In: (Extra)Ordinary?
The Concept of Authenticity in Celebrity and Fan Studies
Questioning what “makes” a celebrity and how celebrity is controlled, dispersed and received are aspects branching out of (Extra)Ordinary’s debate over celebrities as ordinary/extraordinary. Jade Alexander and Katarzyna Bronk, together with the authors whose chapters make up this inter-disciplinary discussion, not only utilise the existing research on celebrity and fandom, but they also go beyond the often-quoted theorists to engage in multidirectional analyses of what it means to be a celebrity, and what influence they have on the consuming public. The present book provides an avenue for exploring not just what celebrity is as a discursive construction, but also how this involves a complex interplay between celebrities, the media and the audience.
In: (Extra)Ordinary?
In: (Extra)Ordinary?
In: (Extra)Ordinary?