Celebritizing Conflict: How Ben Affleck Sells the Congo to Americans

Lisa Ann Richey, Alexandra Cosima Budabin

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

From serving as United Nations ambassadors to appearing as spokespersons for major NGO campaigns, global celebrities have become increasingly important in international development assistance. Acting as “aid celebrities,” they are indelibly linked with humanitarian work and public engagement.2 In the policy realm, celebrity endorsement may shift attention, shape decisions, and build or erode key alliances. Meanwhile, the figure of the celebrity offers an enticing lens to refract critical issues of power, influence, and voice within neoliberal north-south relations. This essay, using emerging literature on celebrities in north-south relations, analyzes the celebrity discourses and practices of the professional entertainer Ben Affleck and his engagement in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in order to understand how celebrities intersect with and popularize representations of poverty, conflict, and development in Africa.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHumanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development
Volume7
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)27-46
Number of pages19
ISSN2151-4364
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2016

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