Charismatic authority and the YouTuber : unpacking the new cults of personality

Cocker, Hayley Louise and Cronin, James Martin (2017) Charismatic authority and the YouTuber : unpacking the new cults of personality. Marketing Theory, 17 (4). pp. 455-472. ISSN 1470-5931

[thumbnail of Charismatic Authority and the YouTuber_MT]
PDF (Charismatic Authority and the YouTuber_MT)
Charismatic_Authority_and_the_YouTuber_Pure.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (295kB)


In this article, we draw upon Weber’s concept of charismatic authority to unpack the appeal that YouTube video bloggers have galvanized among their fan communities. We explore how followers interact to articulate the appeal of British YouTube personalities and consequently, how they contribute to the nature of these ‘new cults of personality’. By observing the content of seven of Britain’s most popular ‘YouTubers’ and engaging in a sustained non-participant netnography of responses to these videos, we argue new cults of personality differ from their traditional counterparts through collaborative, co-constructive and communal interdependence between culted figure and follower. While Weber maintained charismatic authority has its source in the innate and exceptional qualities of an individual’s personality, we submit that in consumer culture’s current era of consent, the ‘culting’ of social actors becomes a participatory venture. We shed light on the fading and routinization of charisma and the dissipation of the relationship between the culted figure and followers.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Marketing Theory
Additional Information:
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Marketing Theory, 17 (4), 2017, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2017 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Marketing Theory page: on SAGE Journals Online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? celebritycharismacharismatic authoritycult of personalitynetnographyweberyoutubemarketing ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
16 Mar 2017 04:47
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2023 00:31