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Just like us: everyday celebrity politicians and the pursuit of popularity in an age of anti-politics

Just like us: everyday celebrity politicians and the pursuit of popularity in an age of anti-politics
Just like us: everyday celebrity politicians and the pursuit of popularity in an age of anti-politics
In a supposedly ‘anti-political’ age the scholarly literature on celebrity politicians argues that politicians gain popularity by adopting strategies from within the world of entertainment. This article offers the findings of a research project that has detected a marked shift in the interplay between celebrity culture and the presentational strategies adopted by politicians. At the heart of this shift is an increased focus on the concept of ‘normality’ as politicians increasingly attempt to shake-off the negative connotations associated with ‘professional politicians’ and instead attempt to appear ‘just like us’. As such, this article offers an original approach by distinguishing between ´superstar’ celebrity politicians and ‘everyday’ celebrity politicians before identifying three aspects of each strategy (i.e. media platform, marketing technique, and performative role). It offers numerous empirical examples that serve to underpin this distinction before using the example of Boris Johnson as a case study in the attempted shift from ‘superstar’ to ‘everyday’ celebrity. This focus on normality offers a fresh entry-point into the analysis of contemporary political statecraft while also posing distinctive questions about the tension between political popularity and credibility in an anti-political age. As such, the approach also has significant implications for normative ideas about how celebrity can be ‘democratised’ to remedy anti-politics.
1369-1481
581-598
Wood, Mathew
7397ef45-16ca-4c52-bdb5-896a1d003d1a
Corbett, Jack
ad651655-ac70-4072-a36f-92165e296ce2
Flinders, Matthew
d4982871-f267-4c51-a12b-1e0340ed4465
Wood, Mathew
7397ef45-16ca-4c52-bdb5-896a1d003d1a
Corbett, Jack
ad651655-ac70-4072-a36f-92165e296ce2
Flinders, Matthew
d4982871-f267-4c51-a12b-1e0340ed4465

Wood, Mathew, Corbett, Jack and Flinders, Matthew (2016) Just like us: everyday celebrity politicians and the pursuit of popularity in an age of anti-politics. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 18 (3), 581-598. (doi:10.1177/1369148116632182).

Record type: Article

Abstract

In a supposedly ‘anti-political’ age the scholarly literature on celebrity politicians argues that politicians gain popularity by adopting strategies from within the world of entertainment. This article offers the findings of a research project that has detected a marked shift in the interplay between celebrity culture and the presentational strategies adopted by politicians. At the heart of this shift is an increased focus on the concept of ‘normality’ as politicians increasingly attempt to shake-off the negative connotations associated with ‘professional politicians’ and instead attempt to appear ‘just like us’. As such, this article offers an original approach by distinguishing between ´superstar’ celebrity politicians and ‘everyday’ celebrity politicians before identifying three aspects of each strategy (i.e. media platform, marketing technique, and performative role). It offers numerous empirical examples that serve to underpin this distinction before using the example of Boris Johnson as a case study in the attempted shift from ‘superstar’ to ‘everyday’ celebrity. This focus on normality offers a fresh entry-point into the analysis of contemporary political statecraft while also posing distinctive questions about the tension between political popularity and credibility in an anti-political age. As such, the approach also has significant implications for normative ideas about how celebrity can be ‘democratised’ to remedy anti-politics.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 24 February 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 8 June 2016
Published date: August 2016
Organisations: Politics & International Relations

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 390010
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/390010
ISSN: 1369-1481
PURE UUID: e1115739-34e7-4284-975f-dd8c2d149dc6
ORCID for Jack Corbett: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2005-7162

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 17 Mar 2016 11:14
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 06:18

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Contributors

Author: Mathew Wood
Author: Jack Corbett ORCID iD
Author: Matthew Flinders

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