Celebrities are increasingly front and centre in public debates on everything from solving world poverty to halting genocide, confronting obesity, and finding spiritual contentment. Bono, Bill Gates, Al Gore, Bob Geldof, Oprah, Madonna, and Angelina Jolie are just some of the entertainers, politicians, pundits, elite business people, and policy-makers whose highly visible political activism has become an integral part of their public personas. These pop icons tend to be celebrated as "philanthrocapitalists" with a unique ability to remedy the world's problems. However, as Age of Icons demonstrates, the solutions these icons promote for addressing global injustice, when examined critically, can be seen to work through the very same institutions that create these problems in the first place. This volume assesses the growing role of popular icons in the construction of a culture that appears to incorporate a critical attitude towards the capitalist experience while, in fact, legitimizing the neoliberal character of the modern world. It will be an eye-opening read for anyone interested in the juncture between current events and celebrity culture.
Gavin Fridell is Canada Research Chair in International Development Studies and an associate professor at Saint Mary's University. He is also the author of Fair Trade Coffee: The Prospects and Pitfalls of Market-Driven Social Justice. Martijn Konings is a senior lecturer and Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow in the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney.
Introduction: Neoliberal Capitalism as the Age of Icons Martijn Konings (University of Sydney, Political Economy) and Gavin Fridell (Saint Mary's University, Canada Research Chair in International Development Studies) Chapter One: Humanitarian Heroes? Ilan Kapoor (York University, Environmental Studies) Chapter Two: The 'Oprah Effect': The Ideological Work of Neoliberalism Janice Peck (University of Colorado Boulder, Journalism and Mass Communication) Chapter Three: Celebritus Politicus, Neo-liberal Sustainabilities and the Terrains of Care Mike Goodman (King's College London, Geography) Chapter Four: Al Gore as Carbon Warrior: The Politics of Inaction Kate Ervine (Trent University, Politics) Chapter Five: (Product) RED: Glam-Aid, Consumer Citizens and the Colonization of Governance Colleen O'Manique (Trent University, Gender and Women's Studies) and Momin Rahman (Trent University, Sociology) Chapter Six: Cosmopolitanism Reinvented: Neoliberal Globalization and Thomas Friedman Feyzi Baban (Trent University, Politics) Chapter Seven: Governance Fantasies: Joseph Stiglitz and the Citizen-Bureaucrat Gavin Fridell (Saint Mary's University, Canada Research Chair in International Development Studies) Bibliography
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