Celebrities in International Affairs

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Celebrity engagement in global “helping” is not a simple matter of highly photogenic caring for needy others across borders; it is a complex relationship of power that often produces contradictory functions in relation to the goals of humanitarianism, development, and advocacy. This article argues that celebrities are acting as other elite actors in international affairs: investing considerable capital into processes that are highly political. It traces the emergence and practices of the elite politics of celebrities in North-South relations, an evolution made possible by recent changes in aid practices, media, and NGOs, then considers exemplary cases of Angelina Jolie in Burma, Ben Affleck in the Democractic Republic of Congo, and Madonna in Malawi. These celebrity practices as diplomats, experts, and humanitarians in international affairs illustrate the diverse and contradictory forms of engagement by celebrity “helpers” in North-South relations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Handbooks Online : Scholarly Research Reviews
Number of pages22
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication dateApr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

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