In recent years, celebrity philanthropy and activism has attracted much attention from the media, sparking a great deal of public interest. As exponents and endorsers of the marketisation and corporatisation of philanthropy and activism, globally renowned super-celebrities habitually lend their name, time and energy to a range of causes. They help raise awareness, generate funds and endeavour to evoke social and political responses to crucial societal issues. These can range from domestic violence, cancer prevention, climate change and transgender acceptance, to refugee problems and fighting poverty at home and abroad. But in what ways do (mediated communications about) these celebrities have the power to define what is going wrong in the world, who or what is to blame, how this can be solved and how this is to be evaluated morally and ethically? Does celebrity humanitarianism and activism serve to reinforce postcolonial power relations or does it help solve social problems, advancing traditional views on how society is, and should be, organised? Importantly, more than conceptual and empirical exploration of celebrity philanthropy and activism as such, this book analyses the mediated communication, the mediatised narratives that these endeavours provide.
Combining insights from philanthropy and welfare regime studies, international politics and diplomacy, postcolonial studies, but also from marketing, from celebrity, star and fan studies, and from media, communication and cultural studies, this book critically analyses the mediated discourses and debates that celebrity philanthropy and activism provokes, and considers wider ethical and theoretical perspectives. It will be of interest to all scholars and students working in sociology, health and social care and social policy.
Hilde Van den Bulck (Ph.D.) is full professor of Communication Studies and head of the Media, Policy & Culture research group at the University of Antwerp. She holds an MA in communications from the KULeuven (B), an MA in mass communications from the University of Leicester (UK) and a Ph.D. in social sciences from the KULeuven (B). She combines complementary expertise in media structures and media cultures. For the past ten years, an important part of her research has focused on the cultural significance and societal role of mediated communication from and about celebrities in general and celebrity philanthropy and activism in particular.
Part 1: Setting the Scene; Chapter 1. Philanthrophy and Activism or Plutocracy?; Chapter 2. Celebrity Philanthropy and Activism: Consumer Society meets Societal Well-Being; Chapter 3. Mediated Celebrity Philanthrophy; Part 2: Chapter 4. The White Man's Burden I: Bono, Cloomey and 'the West and the Rest'; Chapter 5. The White Man's Burden II: The Celebrity One Percent; Chapter 6. The White Woman's Burden I: Caring; Chapter 7. The White Woman's Burden II: When the Public Becomes the Private; Part 3: Part 3. Philanthrophy and Activism in the Private Domain/At Home; Chapter 8. When the Private Becomes the Public I: Health Activism and de facto Role Model; Chapter 9. When the Private Becomes the Public II: LGBTQ Activism; Conclusion; Index