Celebritus Politicus, Neo-liberal Sustainabilities and the Terrains of Care

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The chapter is an exploration of the ways in which the novel figure of Celebritus Politicus acts as an embodiment of neo-liberal sustainabilities. In this, my arguments are diffusely based on interviews, conversations and reflections over the last two years with a number of progressive UK NGOs about their engagements with and uses of celebrities in their campaigns, as well as the reflexive participant observation emersion in the television, newspaper and online media related to celebrity politics and activism. More specifically, though, I establish the novel and significant working concept of ‘celebrity governance regimes’ and how they draw on but also contribute to what in other work I have called neo-liberalised sustainabilities. The chapter then focuses on and works through the processes by which this celebrity governance regime works, namely through the ‘fame-seeking’ and ‘fame-utilising’ behaviours of celebrities to bring attention to their various causes in order to provide a novel understanding to the ways that activist celebrities work to create new fans of development and/or environmental causes and concerns, whose concerns are then, through this poverty- and enviro-tainment, collectivised through the bodies, foundations and access of Celebritus politicus to the halls of power. In short, this chapter works to provide a critical evaluation and analysis of the structural dynamics of Celebritus politicus as a systematic way the world now responds to humanitarian, environmental and other crises. The chapter will become a major touchstone in a very important and significant collection to the shifting geographies of mediated and spectacular responses to humanitarian crises, human rights, development and environment at the same time it will contribute and influence ongoing critical work on the politics of celebrity culture, media/cultural studies, development studies and cultural geography.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Icons: The Cultural Politics of Neoliberal Capitalism
EditorsG Fridell, M Konings
Place of PublicationToronto
PublisherUniversity of Toronto Press
ISBN (Print)978-1442612037
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 May 2013


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