Gaga: Notes on the Management of Public Identity


  • Mathieu Deflem University of South Carolina, USA



Lady Gaga, self, identity, fame, popular music, pop star


Lady Gaga distinctively exemplifies the contemporary celebrity in popular culture because of the extent of her fame as well as because of the peculiar persona she presents to her audience of both fans and onlookers. In this paper, I discuss how the persona of the person born as Stefani Germanotta was created and subsequently maintained in a variety of ways related to her naming as Lady Gaga. Invoking the work of Erving Goffman, my discussion extends beyond an analysis of the effectiveness and fame of Lady Gaga’s presentation of self to the ensuing essence of her persona itself, that is, of Lady Gaga as Gaga rather than gaga. Not merely a brand, Lady Gaga is in more ways than only economic also what Lady Gaga has become to herself and to others. As the performer slips in and out of the many public personae she has created in her name, I argue, she has become Gaga to the public at large and, with only minimal qualification, among her once personal friends as well as in the privacy of her socially constituted self. The truth that has to be acknowledged today is that Lady Gaga has indeed become Lady Gaga.


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Author Biography

Mathieu Deflem, University of South Carolina, USA

Mathieu Deflem is Professor of Sociology at the Department of Sociology, University of South Carolina.


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How to Cite

Deflem, M. (2019). Gaga: Notes on the Management of Public Identity. Persona Studies, 5(1), 33–45.



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