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    Celebrity advocacy and public engagement: the divergent uses of celebrity

    Markham, Tim (2015) Celebrity advocacy and public engagement: the divergent uses of celebrity. International Journal of Cultural Studies 18 (4), pp. 467-480. ISSN 1367-8779.

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    This article sounds a cautionary note about the instrumental use of celebrity advocacy to (re)engage audiences in public life. It begins by setting out the steps necessary to achieve public recognition of a social problem requiring a response. It then presents empirical evidence which suggests that those most interested in celebrity, while also paying attention to the main stories of the day, are also least likely to participate in any form of politics. However, this does not rule out the possibility of forging a link between celebrity and public engagement, raising questions about what would potentially sustain such an articulation. After discussing the broader cultural context of celebrity advocacy in which perceived authenticity functions valorised form of symbolic capital, the article outlines a phenomenological approach to understanding the uses audiences make of celebrity advocacy, using the example of a Ewan McGregor UNICEF appeal for illustration. It concludes that while media encounters with celebrities can underpin a viewer’s sense of self, this is as likely to lead to the rationalisation of inaction as a positive response to a charity appeal.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Celebrity advocacy, public engagement, audience studies, phenomenology, subjectification, charity appeals
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication
    Research Centres and Institutes: Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Research in Media and Culture (BIRMAC) (Closed)
    Depositing User: Tim Markham
    Date Deposited: 12 May 2014 07:01
    Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 12:34


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