Celebrity witnessing

Shifting the emotional address in narratives of development aid

Lene Bull Christiansen, Birgitta Frello

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Abstrakt

This article deals with emotional address in the narrative modality of celebrity witnessing in the marketing of development aid. We analyse Danish celebrity narratives of global caring, drawing on Luc Boltanski’s work on a ‘politics of pity’, Lilie Chouliaraki’s notion of the ‘aspirational discourse’ and Sara Ahmed’s engagement with the concept of ‘orientation’. We argue that while criticising the dominant narrative modality is highly relevant, there is a risk that a too narrow focus on its reproduction can bar our view of the fact that it also enables discursive completions that can engage the spectator in alternative ways, thus creating space for alternative types of emotional engagement. The analysis demonstrates that the narrative modality of celebrity witnessing is more flexible than what is usually presumed, since it enables different completions and can be pried open for articulations of different kinds of passion.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Vol/bind19
Udgave nummer2
Antal sider16
ISSN1367-5494
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2016

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