Star fission: Shoaib Akhtar and fragmentation as transnational celebrity strategy

M Bolognani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

4 Citations (Scopus)


If we understand ‘the making of celebrity’ as a specific cultural endeavour (Rojek 2001:11, 31), transnational celebrity must be viewed as the opportunity (structure) or capacity (agency) to exercise control over fame, at a very high level of cultural complexity, across cultural borders. It would appear that the conditio sine qua non for the longevity of a star is exactly this capacity of transcending one’s nation’s cultural specificity. In this article, the Guinness Book of Records-holder Pakistani fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar provides a case-study of someone who, rather than projecting one single image globally, has had the opportunity to ground his star-persona in the Pakistani cultural milieu, and at the same time the capacity, to some extent, to transcend (and transgress) multiple borders. This paper analyzes his alternate fortunes as dictated by the interplay of national and international politics, religion, class, and postcolonial cricket, and argues that fragmentation may be one strategy to achieve transnational celebrity, although deep cultural and political dynamics may still limit stardom to a regional dimension, in this case the South Asian diaspora. Keywords: Shoaib Akhtar, Pakistani cricket, Musharraf years, Muslim masculinities, IPL
Translated title of the contributionStar fission: Shoaib Akhtar and fragmentation as transnational celebrity strategy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31 - 43
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Celebrity Studies
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Routledge (Taylor Francis Group)

Structured keywords

  • SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship

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