By Ilan Kapoor
In the final 20 years specifically, we've got witnessed the increase of ‘celebrity’ types of international humanitarianism and charity paintings, spearheaded by means of leisure stars, billionaires, and activist NGOs (e.g. Bob Geldof, Bono, Angelina Jolie, Madonna, invoice Gates, George Soros, store Darfur, Medeçins Sans Frontières). This ebook examines this new phenomenon, arguing that famous person humanitarianism legitimates, and certainly promotes, neoliberal capitalism and worldwide inequality.
Drawing on Slavoj Žižek’s paintings, the ebook argues how superstar humanitarianism, faraway from being altruistic, is considerably infected and ideological: it truly is almost always self-serving, aiding to advertise institutional aggrandizement and the fame ‘brand’; it advances consumerism and company capitalism, and rationalizes the very worldwide inequality it seeks to redress; it really is essentially depoliticizing, regardless of its pretensions to ‘activism’; and it contributes to a ‘postdemocratic’ political panorama, which appears to be like outwardly open and consensual, yet is in truth controlled by way of unaccountable elites.
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Additional info for Celebrity Humanitarianism: The Ideology of Global Charity
Indeed, in the US during and after the Cold War, to adopt a child was to serve the nation and its national security/foreign policy priorities, especially in the aftermath of the Korean and Vietnam wars (cf. Eng 2003). Madonna and Jolie may thus be said to be continuing this US national tradition: their transnational adoptions aid the nation by encouraging others to adopt, while also constructing themselves (and other adoptive parents) as saviours of orphaned Third World children. To echo Gayatri Spivak (1988), it’s another case of white (wo)men saving coloured babies from coloured (wo)men, in the service of the nation.
Under capitalism, ‘it is “things” (commodities) which freely circulate, while the circulation of “persons” is more and more controlled’ (Žižek 2008a: 102). A ﬁnal ideological strategy is (once again) depoliticization. As we have seen, celebrities tend to champion ‘safe’ and marketable topics, shying away from anything too politically controversial. Usually, this means that they focus on ‘symptoms rather than core problems, providing, for example, tools for illiteracy rather than addressing the problem of core funding in schools or economic equality’ (Littler 2008: 243).
1 Live 8 stars’ album boost HMV album boost (1 week after Live 8) 1. Pink Floyd – Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd – 1,343% 2. The Who – Then and Now – 863% 3. Annie Lennox – Eurythmics Greatest Hits – 500% 4. Dido – Life for Rent – 412% 5. Razorlight – Up All Night – 335% 6. Robbie Williams – Greatest Hits – 320% 7. Joss Stone – Mind, Body & Soul – 309% 8. Sting – The Very Best of Sting & The Police – 300% 9. Travis – Singles – 268% 10. Madonna – The Immaculate Collection – 200% Amazon album boost (1 week after Live 8) 1.