Abstract and Keywords
This article appears in the Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media edited by Carol Vernallis, Amy Herzog, and John Richardson. Lady Gaga and her collaborators released a series of YouTube videos between 2009 and 2012 in the form of a coherent pageant orchestrated to claim a privileged position in a networked society. This article presents a close reading of this pageant as a whole, paying special attention to meaningful relationships among the pop star’s iconography, rhetoric, musical tropes, audio effects, and digital practices. The Gaga World has been crafted in ways that resonate with popular contemporary conceptions of society, providing Gaga with an apparent timeliness. This affords the cultural critic with a kind of text for considering a set of political contradictions that are otherwise obscured by a rhetoric that deploys ideas about ostensibly nonhierarchical and democratic networks.
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