Taking a broad perspective on the audiences of celebrity culture, this article investigates the ways in which Portuguese young people participate in the social construction of celebrity, their own identities and ultimately their country’s place in global culture. Looking at the negotiation processes that occur among young people aged 12–17 around local and global celebrities, mostly from entertainment and sports, the respondents held different perceptions depending largely on the celebrities’ cultural origins. The relationships that young people establish with celebrities also help them to project a social position and negotiate their ambitions. While perceptions of class are more accentuated among general audiences and enthusiasts regarding local celebrities, there is a more dramatised view of the life narratives of teen stars and global celebrities, which is even stronger among fans. The discussion surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo, a local celebrity turned global, showed that the meanings they attribute to celebrities link class and the semi-peripheral position that Portugal occupies in the global circuits of culture.
- young people