Call for Chapters: The Political Economy of Celebrity Activism

Posted by on Jul 3, 2014 in Critic's Area | 0 comments

Call for Chapters: The Political Economy of Celebrity Activism

From Dr Nathan Farrell (

In early 2014, Hollywood actor Scarlet Johansson provoked a critical response from the UK charity Oxfam, for whom she functioned as an ambassador. The star had recently signed a promotional deal with SodaStream, the manufacturer of a carbonated drinks machine, with headquarters in Israel and a factory situated in a controversial settlement in the West Bank. Such settlements, Oxfam asserted, have been linked to the ongoing poverty of the location’s Palestinian inhabitants. Johansson’s dual role as the public face of both a for-profit company and a non-profit organisation critical of that company provoked considerable controversy, and ultimately contributed to the star standing down from her role within the charity. While Johansson’s example highlights the value of contemporary celebrity as a promotional aid to those within the ostensibly separate domains of charity and business, it also points to the interconnected nature of the contemporary promotional environment in which celebrities mediate both activist ideals and business initiatives. More to the point, it highlights the potential for political-economic tensions between these two facets of contemporary celebrity. This edited collection seeks contributions that explore the political economic implications of contemporary celebrity activism. Chapters might include analyses of how political economy approaches aid our understandings of celebrity activism, or how key agents within business, philanthropy and charity might be impacted by the economic structures underpinning celebrity activism and political and economic philosophies that shape it.

The aim of this book is to bring together innovative and current research on the political economy of celebrity activism that not only explores the types of tensions presented in Johansson’s example but unpacks celebrity activism from a variety of political economic angles. A diversity of case studies which include celebrities from around the world, and which encompass both the developed and developing world, is strongly encouraged. Chapters might include, but are by no means limited to,

· The role of sponsorship in celebrity activism and relationships between for- and non-profit organisations
· Non-state actors and celebrity ambassadors · Celebrity, marketisation and branding within the non-profit sector
· The political economy of celebrity-run foundations · Economic transparency and celebrity activism
· Celebrity activism after the financial crisis and in the ‘Age of Austerity’
· The social capital of celebrity activism · Economic models of celebrity activism within emerging economies
· Comparative analyses of celebrity activism in different sectors, regions or historical periods
· Celebrity activism, Occupy and ‘post-neoliberalism’ · Celebrity and ‘Green Capitalism’
· Celebrity activism and the economics of post-natural disaster reconstruction
· Celebrity activism, globalisation and neo-colonialism

Keen interest has already been expressed by Routledge to include this book in their successful on-going book series ‘Popular Culture and World Politics.’ The collection will be comprised of approximately 10-12 chapters of around 7,000 words. Publication has been scheduled for late 2015. Should you be interested in contributing or have any further questions, please contact me at<>. The deadline for a 200-300 word abstract and short (2-3 line) biography of author/s is 15th September 2014.

Kind regards, Nathan Farrell

Dr Nathan Farrell
Lecturer in Communication & Media Room W334,
The Media School Bournemouth University
Talbot Campus Poole Dorset
BH12 5BB Tel: 01202 966739


Leave a Reply