Decoding Ideologies in Lana Del Rey's Celebrity Status and Artistry
Hammett, Joseph Romano
Lana Del Rey’s public image and musical artistry raise questions about the definitions of professional agency, music industry standards, and idolization of celebrities in American society. Stuart Hall’s encoding and decoding theoretical structure, specifically the dominant, negotiated, and oppositional forms of coding, provides an analytical basis for this study of Lana Del Rey’s career. In the dominant mode, she adheres to standards set by the music industry and dominant ideologies in American culture, such as when she portrays herself as an object of male desire. However, in the negotiated mode of coding the singer pushes back against criticism of her work and subverts expectations set for her surrounding gender identity. Ultimately, Lana Del Rey inhabits the active role of cultural critic in the oppositional mode, in order to rebel against her passive role as a celebrity and an object of media coverage. The discussion and analysis in this study has ideological implications as it pertains to feminism, nostalgia, the American Dream, and postmodernism.
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