Can celebrity save diplomacy? Appropriating wisdom through ‘The Elders'

Huijser, Hendrik and Tay, Jinna (2011) Can celebrity save diplomacy? Appropriating wisdom through ‘The Elders'. In: Transnational celebrity activism in global politics: changing the world? Intellect Books, London, United Kingdom, pp. 105-120. ISBN 978-1-84150-349-3

[img] Text (Published Version - Chapter 5)

Download (1105Kb)


This chapter provides a discussion of Richard Branson's initiative of 'The Elders', and assesses its effectiveness in the context of celebrity activism and celebrity diplomacy. While the self-conscious exploitation of celebrity status in this initiative has the potential to make a positive impact on both the levels of fund raising and of awareness in a Western context, the 'traditional' role of celebrity in this process is at the same time fraught with profound contradictions. This chapter explores the role of 'celebrity diplomacy' in the Elders' attempts to effect change and engage with politics and poverty at a global level. The central question is whether their celebrity status, as well as the celebrity status of their founders, will limit them to awareness raising alone, or whether they can effect meaningful change and a shift in the way diplomacy operates on a global level. This paper will argue that while 'celebrity' has the potential to create awareness, raise much-needed funds, and drive 'political action', this potential is at the same time firmly wedded to contemporary politics of entertainment and media consumption, thus potentially limiting its ability to effect structural change.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 19320
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright c2011 Intellect Ltd.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Learning and Teaching Support Unit
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2011 05:41
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2017 01:59
Uncontrolled Keywords: celebrity activism; celebrity diplomacy; the Elders; celebrity politics; politics of entertainment; media consumption; globalisation; goodwill ambassadors
Fields of Research : 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200104 Media Studies
16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160607 International Relations
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200206 Globalisation and Culture
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9502 Communication > 950204 The Media
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9502 Communication > 950201 Communication Across Languages and Culture

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only