Celebrities as New Development Actors

Louise Mubanda Rasmussen (Participant)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

Description

The cutting edge of contemporary scholarship on celebrity engagement with international development issues suggests that populist celebrity advocacy marks a disengagement between the public and politics. Celebrity humanitarianism and development advocacy, argues Brockington, is the terrain of elites, in spite of popular misconceptions that celebrities are successful because of their appeal to ‘the people.’ Critics like Kapoor argue that the play of celebrities with the humanitarian needs of ‘others’ is inherently destructive. Supporters like Cooper suggest that celebrities can be a positive force in ‘changing the world.’ Yet, we are lacking a grounded and engaged debate on the importance of context. Which publics are engaged, through which celebritized means and what does this mean for politics? The terrain of global interventions in development and humanitarian causes is rapidly changing with the engagements of new actors and alliances across geographical, financial and political distance. Thus, there is a prescient need to examine the importance of context in the negotiations of North-South relations, known as both ‘development’ and ‘humanitarianism’. How do celebrities function in elite politics in different political settings in the North and South? How do celebritized interventions impact local politics of development in the South? How do representations of ‘need’ and agency change in different contexts as celebrities try to ‘sell’ a particular cause to a particular audience?
Period18 Sep 2013
Event typeWorkshop
LocationRoskilde, Denmark