Celebrities and Environmental Activism
This chapter explores the roles of celebrities in environmental activism. It discusses the cultural power of celebrities, highlighting both their implication in the capitalist promotional economy and their representational function in public formations, aesthetic orders, and social value systems. The role of celebrities in environmental advocacy and the extent of their public persuasive power are then discussed. A discussion of the popular television programme, Hugh’s War on Waste, demonstrates how Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s celebrity subjectivity establishes both relations of distinction and equivalence with the viewing public and provides him with a social authority and mobility to investigate the networks of un/sustainability that occur in the everyday lives of residents from a representative street. The chapter then explores the social media pro-seal hunt ‘sealfie’ campaign that arose in response to Ellen DeGeneres’ famous Oscars selfie and her support for animal rights. It is discussed how celebrity can be a site around which discursive and political contestation over environmental issues occurs, and the role of social media in the promotion of Inuit culture and everyday practices is highlighted.
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