LAWRENCE (KSNT) – “The Sociology of Taylor Swift” is a seminar at the University of Kansas. The class is full with 10 students currently enrolled. While they’re learning about the pop star, the class is much more than just Taylor Swift.
Offered for the first time this fall, “The Sociology of Taylor Swift” filled up almost instantly. The entry-level sociology class allows students to learn about pop-culture in a whole new way.
“It’s a class that focuses on topics within cultural sociology and we’re looking at the way people enjoy and consume popular culture and some of the meaning-making practices within the Taylor Swift fandom, and we’re looking at the impact of her celebrity on broader American culture,” KU Sociology Professor Brian Donovan said.
While her fandom is cemented in the pop-culture world and beyond, it’s also making an impact in the world of marketing.
“This is big dollar amount because, in today’s world, the scarce resource is attention,” KU Marketing Director and Professor Kissan Joseph said. “And so, if it’s a [Roger] Federer or a Taylor Swift that can command attention there are big dollars behind it as well.”
But what is it about Taylor Swift that gives her the staying power to command all this attention?
For Donovan, he says it’s her product and likeness.
“She’s a musical genius but she’s also a marketing genius.” Donovan said. “She knows how to put her product out there in the world and to do so in a way to gain the maximum amount of positive attention and she knows that her fan base is incredibly passionate, and she keeps us engaged and involved.”
It’s that engagement creating the product that so many buy into.
“The value is entertainment,” Joseph said. “She is 100 percent at the end of the day an entertainer. And so the product that you’re buying from Taylor Swift is entertainment, music celebrating her persona, her personality, her whole aura, that is what you’re buying when you’re buying Taylor Swift.”
Professor Donovan tells 27 News the class has talked about Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift.
Those have been conversations about whether people should let Taylor be Taylor and about the extent to which people should weigh in on her personal life.