Discussion over celebrity engagement is often limited to theoretical critique or normative name-calling, without much grounded research into what it is that celebrities are doing, the same or differently throughout the world. Crucially, little attention has been paid to the Global South, either as a place where celebrities intervene into existing politics and social processes, or as the generator of Southern celebrities engaged in ‘do-gooding’. This book examines what the diverse roster of celebrity humanitarians are actually doing in and across North and South contexts. Celebrity humanitarianism is an effective lens for viewing the multiple and diverse relationships that constitute the links between North and South. New empirical findings on celebrity humanitarianism on the ground in Thailand, Malawi, Bangladesh, South Africa, China, Haiti, Congo, US, Denmark and Australia illustrate the impact of celebrity humanitarianism in the Global South and celebritization, participation and democratization in the donor North. By investigating one of the most mediatized and distant representations of humanitarianism (the celebrity intervention) from a perspective of contextualization, the book underscores the importance of context in international development.
This book will be of interest to students and researchers in the fields of development studies, celebrity studies, anthropology, political science, geography, and related disciplines. It is also of great relevance to development practitioners, humanitarian NGOs, and professionals in business (CSR, fair trade) who work in the increasingly celebritized field.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Celebrity Humanitarianism and North-South Relations. Politics, Place and Power Lisa Ann Richey Part 1: Celebrity-Impact in the Global South 1. Angelina Jolie and the Everyday Geopolitics of Celebrity Humanitarianism in a Thailand–Burma Border Town Mary Mostafanezhad 2. Madonna in Malawi. Celebritized Interventions and Local Politics of Development in the South Louise Mubanda Rasmussen 3. Muhammad Yunus. A Bangladeshi Aid Celebrity Anke Schwittay 4. Sophie’s Special Secret. Public Feeling, Consumption and Celebrity Activism in Post-Apartheid South Africa Danai Mupotsa 5. Celebrity Philanthropy in China. the political critique of Pu Cunxin's AIDS heroism Johanna Hood Part 2: Celebritization, Participatory Democracy, and the Donor North 6. Ben Affleck Goes to Washington. Celebrity Advocacy, Access and Influence Alexandra Cosima Budabin 7. Humanitarian Relief Worker Sean Penn – A Contextual Story Annika Bergman Rosamond 8. Irony and Politically Incorrect Humanitarianism. Danish Celebrity-led Benefit Events Mette Fog Olwig and Lene Bull Christiansen 9. Celebrity, Humanitarianism and Settler-Colonialism. G.A Robinson and the Aborigines of Van Diemen’s Land Robert van Krieken Epilogue. The Politics of Celebrity Humanitarianism Dan Brockington
Lisa Ann Richey is Professor of International Development Studies in the Department of Society and Globalisation, Roskilde University, Denmark.
"This is a landmark collection. Genuinely interdisciplinary, blending empirical study with theoretical analysis, and featuring global case studies from a wide range of perspectives, it pushes debates on the impact of celebrity ‘humanitarian helping’ forward significantly, considerably advancing our understanding of the role of celebrity intervention in contemporary global inequalities." –Jo Littler, City University London, UK
"This edited collection is an exciting addition to a proliferating literature. Rather than viewing the role of celebrities from a generic Western-centric perspective all the chapters demonstrate the importance of bringing the global South into the analysis in a nuanced fashion, with an appreciation of differences of place and context." –Andrew F. Cooper, University of Waterloo, Canada
"Celebrity Humanitarianism and North-South Relations edited by Lisa Ann Richey marks a major advance for debates on celebrity ‘do-gooding’. This well-organized collection of chapters includes empirically grounded and critical analyses of cases from both the North and Global South that drastically improve our understanding of celebrity humanitarianism and its politics." –Olivier Driessens, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
"Taking us beyond Bono, Geldof and Jolie, this comprehensive edited collection gives us the empirical depth and geographical breath to better understand when and how celebrities matter for humanitarianism, not just in the US, but all over the world. The product of years of genuinely collaborative work, this book will broaden the horizons of anyone who thought they knew about the politics of celebrity humanitarianism."–Martin Scott, University of East Anglia, UK
"This excellent volume provides a systematically arranged set of case studies concerning the exponential growth of Celebrity Humanitarianism. The edition will be welcomed by academics and practitioners alike as it foregrounds the Global South within this important phenomenon."
–Mark Wheeler, London Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
"Should we care about celebrities? Not at all, we might have once said, especially if our prime concerns are North-South relations and humanitarian causes. No more. This book does more than challenge such an answer, it turns it on its head. Each chapter makes a powerful case for taking celebrities seriously as agents of change - both positive and negative, and does so on the basis of careful observation and forensic analysis. Together, the authors force us to re-think our understanding of who and what celebrities are, their role in international relations, and the complex politics that forge the link between the two."–John Street, University of East Anglia, UK
"An original and compelling book on celebrity humanitarianism. Through its rich collection of essays, it convincingly interrogates the politics of fame, pity and power at the heart of celebrity as a key form of elite leadership in global governance." –Lilie Chouliaraki, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
"This excellent book makes a much needed contribution to the literature on celebrity humanitarianism: not only does it examine the multiple ways in which celebrities mediate elite forms of politics between the global South and North, but its empirically grounded studies of celebrity interventions in places ranging from Bangladesh, Congo and South Africa to Denmark, Australia and the US, help fill a sizeable gap in our understanding of the local impacts of celebrity power."–Ilan Kapoor, York University, Canada