Celebrity advocacy and public engagement: the divergent uses of celebrity

Tim Markham sounds a cautionary note about the instrumental use of celebrity advocacy to (re)engage audiences in public life. It begins by setting out the steps necessary to achieve public recognition of a social problem requiring a response. It then presents empirical evidence which suggests that those most interested in celebrity, while also paying attention to the main stories of the day, are least likely to participate in any form of politics. However, this does not rule out the possibility of forging a link between celebrity and public engagement, raising questions about what would potentially sustain such an articulation.

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