Introduction: Celebrity Humanitarianism and North-South Relations: Politics, Place and Power

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter introduces our critical investigation into what celebrity humanitarianism in North–South relations suggests for contemporary configurations of politics, place and power. The chapter explains why it is important to study celebrity humanitarianism and outlines the knowledge base in academic debates. Key concepts of “celebrity”, “North-South relations” and “humanitarianism” are defined. Then, three relevant literatures for the study of celebrity humanitarianism are outlined: 1) the interdisciplinary literature on aid celebrities (international development studies and geography); 2) the literature on celebrities and representation of “Others” (media and communications studies, cultural studies and anthropology); and 3) the emerging literature on new actors and alliances in North–South relations (international relations and global studies). We examine politics to understand how values are linked with authority in global constellations of humanitarian helping, and in local recipient environments. We investigate the importance of place and context, and summaries are included of the new empirical findings on celebrity humanitarianism on the ground in Thailand, Malawi, Bangladesh, South Africa, China, Haiti, Congo, US, Denmark and Australia. Celebrity interventions provide an empirical focus point for studying the relations of power that may be reproduced or disputed from one context to another.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCelebrity Humanitarianism and North-South Relations : Politics, Place and Power
EditorsLisa Ann Richey
Number of pages24
Place of PublicationMilton Park and New York
Publication date2015
ISBN (Print)9781138854284
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
SeriesRethinking Development

Cite this