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The expert-celebrity axis and the legitimation of technocracy 

From The Frontman: Bono (in the name of power), by Harry Browne, from loc 1655-1676:

Celebrity humanitarianism is one component of this. Yrjölä and other scholars locate its rise within a wider shift in global governance in the neoliberal period, one ‘that brings northern governments, NGOs and global celebrities together’. Celebrity politics, other scholars conclude, are part of a new ‘expert–celebrity’ axis, and function ‘to convince electorates that they are being well governed’. This new mode of governance, in which celebrities act as ‘significant emotional proxies’, the caring face of the global technocracy, has already become so ingrained that most people have forgotten to question the fundamental legitimacy of the likes of Bono as a spokesperson for Africa or anywhere else. Indeed, Bono himself has often been the most likely to raise questions about who he is to talk; in a disarming reflex, he has, as researchers Philip Drake and Michael Higgins put it, ‘moments in which he seems to temporarily concede to doubts concerning his right to speak, which are then followed by transitions in which he reconciles his celebrity position with his holding the political stage’.

Categories: Defensive Elites Post-Democracy, Depoliticisation and Technocracy Thinking

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