New Books in Political Science interview with Alexandra Cosmia Budabin and Lisa Ann Richey

How celebrity strategic partnerships are disrupting humanitarian spaceAre celebrities “disruptors” who revitalize the development field, or are they just charismatic ambassadors for big business? In Batman Saves the Congo: How Celebrities Disrupt the Politics of Development (University of Minnesota Press, 2021) the authors argue that celebrities play both roles, and that understanding why and how yields insight into the realities of neoliberal development. As elite political participants, celebrities shape development practices through strategic partnerships that are both an innovative way to raise awareness and funding for neglected causes and a troubling trend of unaccountable elite leadership in North-South relations. The authors use actor Ben Affleck’s Eastern Congo Initiative to illustrate this dynamic, arguing that his charisma and reach helped bring new approaches to bear on the region’s development.

Listen to the interview at New Books Network. 

University of Minnesota Press Podcast

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