Celebrity capital in the political field: Russell Brand's migration from stand-up comedy to Newsnight

Arthurs, Jane and Shaw, Sylvia (2016) Celebrity capital in the political field: Russell Brand's migration from stand-up comedy to Newsnight. Media Culture and Society, 38 (8). pp. 1136-1152. ISSN 0163-4437 (doi:10.1177/0163443716635869)

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Abstract

Our case study of charismatic celebrity comedian Russell Brand’s turn to political activism uses Bourdieu’s field theory to understand the process of celebrity migration across social fields. We investigate how Brand’s capital as a celebrity performer, storyteller and self-publicist translated from comedy to politics. To judge how this worked in practice, we analysed the comedic strategies used in his stand up show Messiah Complex and a Conversational Analysis of his notorious interview with Jeremy Paxman on the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme Newsnight . We argue that Brand was able to secure political legitimacy by creatively constituting himself as an authentic anti-austerity spokesperson for the disenfranchised left in UK. In order to do so he repurposed his celebrity capital to political ends and successfully deployed the cultural and social capital he had developed as a celebrity comedian to secure widespread engagement with his media performances.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online before print March 15, 2016
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Media > English Language and Literature
Item ID: 17533
Notes on copyright: Publisher's permission to upload author's manuscript to university repository in advance of publication
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Jane Arthurs
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2015 09:36
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2019 16:46
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/17533

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