Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Caffeinated Solutions as Neoliberal Politics: How Celebrities Create and Promote Partnerships for Peace and Development

  • Alexandra Cosima Budabin

Abstract

How do celebrities exert power to influence elite and popular thinking and policy around peace and development? Drawing from research on neoliberalism, celebrities, and ethical consumption, I build an interpretive analysis of two case studies of Brand Aid initiatives to argue first, that celebrities mobilize financial and political capital to create partnerships across businesses, NGOs, and the government in ways that embody neoliberal politics by ushering in new private actors; and second, that celebrities reinforce these neoliberal politics by promoting these partnerships to popular and elite audiences. I discuss how this paper contributes to unmasking neoliberal trends by showing how celebrities are deepening their engagement in ways that hold implications for democratic politics.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Caffeinated Solutions as Neoliberal Politics: How Celebrities Create and Promote Partnerships for Peace and Development
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Caffeinated Solutions as Neoliberal Politics: How Celebrities Create and Promote Partnerships for Peace and Development
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Caffeinated Solutions as Neoliberal Politics: How Celebrities Create and Promote Partnerships for Peace and Development
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

Footnotes

Hide All

This work was supported by the Samfund og Erhverv, Det Frie Forskningsråd [6109-00158].

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Abrahamsen, Rita. 2012. “Africa in a Global Political Economy of Symbolic Goods.” Review of African Political Economy 39(131): 140–42.
Affleck, Ben. 2015. Testimony by Ben Affleck, Founder, Eastern Congo Initiative. Hearing on “Diplomacy, Development, and National Security.” U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. March 26. Senate Hearing 114. Washington, DC.
Affleck, Ben. 2017. “Opinion | Ben Affleck: Why I’m Hopeful About Congo.” The New York Times, December 5.
Africa News. 2013. “Sudan; Swiss Firm Eyes South Sudan for Coffee Production,” July 20.
Agence France Press. 2013. “A South Sudan Moka? What Else?” July 16.
Autesserre, Séverine. 2010. The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Autesserre, Séverine. 2014. Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Baaz, Maria Eriksson and Stern, Maria. 2013. Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War? Perceptions, Prescriptions, Problems in the Congo and Beyond. London: Zed Books.
Bariyo, Nicholas. 2016. “Nestle’s Nespresso to Suspend Coffee Imports From South Sudan.” The Wall Street Journal, October 4.
Barnett, Clive, Cloke, Paul, Clarke, Nick, and Malpass, Alice. 2005. “Consuming Ethics: Articulating the Subjects and Spaces of Ethical Consumption.” Antipode 37(1): 2345.
Bennett, Catherine. 2014. “Comment: Is It a Lost Cause Getting a Celebrity to Represent You? Scarlett Johansson Chose SodaStream over Oxfam, but Do Charities Really Need Famous Ambassadors?The Observer (London), February 2.
Berwouts, Kris. 2017. Congo’s Violent Peace: Conflict and Struggle since the Great African War. London: Zed Books.
Biccum, April. 2011. “Marketing Development: Celebrity Politics and the ‘New’ Development Advocacy.” Third World Quarterly 32(7): 1331–46.
Birkenbuel, Renata. 2014. “Carrying on Family Legacy: Whitney Williams Goes Global.” Montana Standard, September 21.
Brainard, Lael and Chollet, Derek. 2008. Global Development 2.0: Can Philanthropists, the Public, and the Poor Make Poverty History? Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Brancaccio, David. 2014. “Ben Affleck on Sustainable Aid in the Eastern Congo.” Marketplace, December 8. http://www.marketplace.org/2014/12/08/business/ben-affleck-sustainable-aid-eastern-congo.
Brockington, Dan. 2014. Celebrity Advocacy and International Development. London and New York: Routledge.
Brown, Wendy. 2016. “Sacrificial Citizenship: Neoliberalism, Human Capital, and Austerity Politics.” Constellations 23(1): 314.
Brysk, Alison. 2013. Speaking Rights to Power Constructing Political Will. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Budabin, Alexandra Cosima. 2014. “Diasporas as Development Partners for Peace? The Alliance between the Darfuri Diaspora and the Save Darfur Coalition.” Third World Quarterly 35(1): 168–80.
Budabin, Alexandra Cosima. 2015a. “Celebrities as Norm Entrepreneurs in International Politics: Mia Farrow and the Genocide Campaign.” Celebrity Studies 6(4): 399413.
Budabin, Alexandra Cosima. 2015b. “Ben Affleck Goes to Washington: Celebrity Advocacy, Access, and Influence.” In Celebrity Humanitarianism and North-South Relations: Politics, Place and Power , ed. Richey, Lisa Ann, 131148. Oxford: Routledge.
Budabin, Alexandra, Rasmussen, Louisa Mubanda, and Ann Richey, Lisa. 2017. “Celebrity-led Development Organisations: The Legitimating Function of Elite Engagement.” Third World Quarterly 38(9): 1952–72.
Budabin, Alexandra Cosima and Pruce, Joel R.. 2018. “The Elite Politics of Media Advocacy in Human Rights.” New Political Science 40(4): 744762.
Budabin, Alexandra and Richey, Lisa. 2018. “Advocacy Narratives and Celebrity Engagement: The Case of Ben Affleck in Congo.” Human Rights Quarterly 40(2): 260–86.
Coley, Jonathan S. 2013. “Theorizing Issue Selection in Advocacy Organizations: An Analysis of Human Rights Activism around Darfur and the Congo, 1998–2010.” Sociological Perspectives 56(2): 191212.
Cooper, Andrew F. 2008. Celebrity Diplomacy. International Studies Intensives. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers.
Daley, Patricia. 2013. “Rescuing African Bodies: Celebrities, Consumerism and Neoliberal Humanitarianism.” Review of African Political Economy 40(137): 375–93.
Davenport, Lisa E. 2009. Jazz Diplomacy: Promoting America in the Cold War Era. Jackson: University of Mississippi.
Daviron, Benoit and Ponte, Stefano. 2005. The Coffee Paradox: Global Markets, Commodity Trade and the Elusive Promise of Development. London: Zed Books.
Devereaux, Ryan. 2012. “George Clooney Arrested in Planned Protest at Sudanese Embassy.” The Guardian, March 16. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/mar/16/george-clooney-arrested-sudanese-embassy.
de Waal, Alex, ed. 2015. Advocacy in Conflict: Critical Perspectives on Transnational Activism. London: Zed Books.
Drake, Philip and Miah, Andy. 2010. “The Cultural Politics of Celebrity.” Cultural Politics 6(1): 4964.
Driessens, Oliver. 2013. “Celebrity Capital: Redefining Celebrity Using Field Theory.” Theory and Society 42(5): 543–60.
Dube, Oeindrila and Vargas, Juan F. 2006. “Are All Resources Cursed? Coffee, Oil, and Armed Conflict in Colombia.” Report for Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Harvard University. Available at https://wcfia.harvard.edu/files/wcfia/files/2007_1_vargas.pdf.
Dunn, Kevin C. 2003. Imagining The Congo: The International Relations of Identity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Dunn, Kevin C. 2009. “Historical Representations.” In Qualitative Methods in International Relations: A Pluralist Guide , ed. Klotz, Audie and Prakash, Deepa. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Dyer, Richard. 1998. Stars. 2nd ed. London: British Film Institute.
Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI). 2017. “Revitalizing Congo’s Coffee Sector.” May 3. http://www.easterncongo.org/blog/detail/2016-03-revitalizing-congos-coffee-sector.
Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI). 2018. “The Lake Kivu Coffee Alliance: Helping Farming Families in Congo Regain Lost Ground.” Eastern Congo Initiative (blog). April 26, 2018. http://www.easterncongo.org/blog/detail/2018-04-the-lake-kivu-coffee-alliance-helping-farming-famili.
Eikenberry, Angela M. 2009. “The Hidden Costs of Cause Marketing.” Stanford Social Innovation Review 7(3): 5155.
Fadlalla, Amal. 2008. “The Neoliberalization of Compassion: Darfur and the Mediation of American Faith, Fear and Terror.” In New Landscapes of Inequality: Neoliberalism and the Erosion of Democracy in America , ed. Collins, Jane L., DiLeonardo, Micaela and Williams, Brett. Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research Press.
Ferguson, James. 2006. Global Shadows: African in the Neoliberal World Order. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
Ferguson, James. 2009. “The Use of Neoliberalism.” Antipode 41(S1): 166–84.
Fejerskov, Adam, Lundsgaarde, Erik, and Cold-Ravnkilde, Signe. 2017. “Recasting the ‘New Actors in Development’ Research Agenda.” European Journal of Development Research 29: 1070–85.
Foltyn, Simona. 2016. “South Sudan: Coffee in a Time of War?Aljazeera, January 6.
Global English (Middle East and North Africa Financial Network). 2015. “Clooney’s South Sudan Coffee Reaches Europe despite War.” October 7.
Gong, Erick and Sullivan, Katherine A.. 2017. “Conflict and Coffee: Are Higher Coffee Prices Fuelling Rebellion in Uganda?Journal of African Economies, 26(3): 322–41
Goodman, Michael K. 2010. “The Mirror of Consumption: Celebritization, Developmental Consumption and the Shifting Cultural Politics of Fair Trade.” Geoforum 41(1): 104–16.
Gulam, Joshua. Forthcoming. “Promoting Peace and Coffee Pods: George Clooney, Nespresso Activist.” In The Political Economy of Celebrity Activism, ed. Farrell, Nathan. London: Routledge.
Hadrick, Dennis. 2018. “Coffee, Conflict, and the Congo: Healing Hearts and Minds Begins with Life and Limbs.” DipNote (blog). March 6. https://blogs.state.gov/stories/2018/03/06/en/coffee-conflict-and-congo-healing-hearts-and-minds-begins-life-and-limbs.
Hamilton, Rebecca. 2011. Fighting for Darfur: Public Action and the Struggle to Stop Genocide. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hawkins, Roberta. 2012. “A New Frontier in Development? The Use of Cause-Related Marketing by International Development Organisations.” Third World Quarterly 33(10): 1783–801.
Hawkins, Virgil. 2011. “Creating a Groundswell or Getting on the Bandwagon? Celebrities, the Media and Distant Conflict.” In Transnational Celebrity Activism in Global Politics, ed. Tsaliki, Liza, Frangonikolopoulos, Christos A., and Huliaras, Asteris. Chicago: Intellect.
Hertzke, A. 2004. Freeing God’s Children: The Unlikely Alliance for Global Human Rights. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Hochschild, Adam. 1998. King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa. Boston: Mariner Books.
Hunt, Nancy Rose. 2008. “An Acoustic Register, Tenacious Images, and Congolese Scenes of Rape and Repetition.” Cultural Anthropology 23(2): 220–53.
Jaffee, Daniel. 2014. Brewing Justice: Fair Trade Coffee, Sustainability, and Survival. Oakland: University of California Press.
Jhumra Smith, Kaukab. 2016. “The DRC’s Coffee Might Be Served at a Starbucks Near You.” USAID FrontLines. June 2016. https://www.usaid.gov/news-information/frontlines/may-june-2016/drc-coffee-might-be-served-starbucks-near-you.
Johnson, D. H. 2003. The Root Causes of Sudan’s Civil Wars, African Issues. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Kabemba, Claude. 2016. “The Democratic Republic of Congo: The Land of Humanitarian Interventions.” In The History and Pratice of Humanitarian Intervention and Aid in Africa , ed. Everill, Bronwen and Kaplan, Josiah. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Kapoor, Ilan. 2013. Celebrity Humanitarianism: Ideology of Global Charity. New York: Routledge.
Kingfisher, Catherine and Maskovsky, Jeff. “The Limits of Neoliberalism.” Critique of Anthropology 28(2): 115–26.
Kogen, Lauren. 2018. “For Celebrity Communication about Development to do Good: Reframing Purpose and Discourses. In Communication in International Development Doing Good or Looking Good? ed. Enghel, Florencia and Noske-Turner, Jessica. London: Routledge.
Lanz, David. 2011. “Why Darfur? The Responsibility to Protect as a Rallying Cry for Transnational Advocacy Groups.” Global Responsibility to Protect 3(2): 223–47.
Lekakis, Eleftheria. 2013. Coffee Activism and the Politics of Fair Trade and Ethical Consumption in the Global North: Political Consumerism and Cultural Citizenship. New York and London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Lynch, Cecelia. 2013. Neoliberal Ethics, the Humanitarian International, and Practices of Peacebuilding. In Globalization, Social Movements, and Peacebuilding, ed. Smith, Jackie and Verdeja, Ernesto. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.
Majic, Samantha A. 2017. “Real Men Set Norms? Anti-Trafficking Campaigns and the Limits of Celebrity Norm Entrepreneurship.” Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal 14(2): 289309.
Makarechi, Kia. 2013. “George Clooney Spends Nespresso Paycheck On Spy Satellite To Keep Tabs On Omar Al-Bashir | HuffPost.” The Huffington Post, July 31.
Mamdani, Mahmood. 2009. Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror. New York: Pantheon Books.
Marijnen, Esther and Verwijen, Judith. 2016. “Selling Green Militarization: The Discursive (re)Production of Militarized Conservation in the Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Geoforum 75: 274–85.
McConnell, Tristan. 2013. “George Clooney Wants You to Drink This Coffee.” San Jose Mercury News, October 14.
Meger, Sara. 2016. “The Fetishization of Sexual Violence in International Security.” International Studies Quarterly 60(1): 149–59.
Morel, Edmund Dene. 1906. Red Rubbe: The Story of the Rubber Slave Trade Flourishing on the Congo in the Year of Grace 1906. New York: The Nassau Print.
Müller, Tanja R. 2013. “The Long Shadow of Band Aid Humanitarianism: Revisiting the Dynamics between Famine and Celebrity.” Third World Quarterly 34(3): 470–84.
Nespresso. N.d. “Reviving-High-Quality-Coffee-Production-in-South-Sudan.” Nestle-Nespresso.Com. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
Nestle. 2016. “USAID Joins Nespresso and TechnoServe in Supporting South Sudan’s Coffee Farmers | Nestlé Global.” April 8. https://www.nestle.com/media/news/usaid-nespresso-support-south-sudan-coffee-farmers.
News Aktuell. 2013. “Nespresso Builds on 10 Years of Success of Its AAA Sustainable Quality Program in Cooperation with the Rainforest Alliance.” July 16.
Njoroge, Dorothy. 2011. “Calling a New Tune for Africa? Analyzing a Celebrity-Led Campaign to Redefine the Debate on Africa.” In Transnational Celebrity Activism in Global Politics, ed. Tsaliki, Liza, Frangonikolopoulos, Christos A., and Huliaras, Asteris. Chicago: Intellect.
Nzongola-Ntalaja, Georges. 2002. The Congo: From Leopold to Kabila: A People’s History. London: Zed Books.
Olsen, David. 2015. “Coffee Beans Bring Hope to War-Torn Nation.” Seattle Times, February 20.
Orr, Tamra B. 2008. George Clooney and the Crisis in Darfur. New York: Rosen Pub Group.
Patey, Luke. 2009. “Against the Asian Tide: The Sudan Divestment Campaign.” Journal of Modern African Studies 47(4): 551–73.
Patterson, Molly and Renwick Monroe, Kristen. 1998. “Narrative in Political Science.” Annual Review of Political Science 1(1): 315–31.
Ploch Blanchard, Lauren. 2014. “The Crisis in South Sudan.” CRS Report 7–5700. Congressional Research Service.
Ponte, Stefano and Ann Richey, Lisa. 2014. “Buying Into Development? Brand Aid Forms of Cause-Related Marketing.” Third World Quarterly 35(1): 6587.
Pruce, Joel R. 2019. The Mass Appeal of Human Rights. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Prunier, Gerard. 2009. Africa’s World War: Congo,The Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Quick, Ian. 2015. Follies in Fragile States: How International Stabilisation Failed in the Congo. 1 edition. Double Loop.
Rapkin, Mickey. 2013. “When Ben Affleck Wants to Change the World, He Calls This Woman.” ELLE, November 11. http://www.elle.com/life-love/society-career/whitney-williams-profile.
Richey, Lisa Ann. ed. 2015. Celebrity Humanitarianism and North-South Relations: Politics, Place and Power. New York and London: Routledge.
Richey, Lisa Ann. and Budabin, Alexandra. Forthcoming. Batman Saves Congo: Celebrity, Disruption and Neoliberal Development. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Richey, Lisa Ann. and Budabin, Alexandra. 2016. “Celebritizing Conflict: How Ben Affleck Sells the Congo to Americans.” Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development . 7(1): 2746.
Richey, Lisa Ann and Ponte, Stefano. 2011. Brand Aid: Shopping Well to Save the World. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Richey, Lisa Ann and Ponte, Stefano, eds. 2014. New Actors and Alliances. New York and London: Routledge.
Richey, Lisa Ann and Ponte, Stefano. 2017. “Batman, Starbucks, and Revitalizing Coffee in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” Presented at the African Studies Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, November.
Rojek, Chris. 2001. Celebrity. London: Reaktion Books.
Roth, Genevieve. 2016. “‘I’ve Never Seen Women So Brave’: How Ben Affleck Is Fighting for Women in the Congo.” Glamou, April.
Sassons, Tehila. 2016. “Milking the Third World? Humanitarianism, Capitalism, and the Moral Economy of the Nestlé Boycott.” The American Historical Review 121(4): 1196–224.
Schwartz-Shea, Peregrine and Yanow, Dvora. 2012. Interpretive Research Design. New York: Routledge.
Scott, Martin. 2015. “The Role of Celebrities in Mediating Distant Suffering.” International Journal of Cultural Studies 18(4): 449–66.
Seay, Laura E. 2015. “Conflict Minerals in Congo: The Consequences of Oversimplification.” In Advocacy in Conflict: Critical Perspectives on Transnational Activism, ed. de Waal, Alex. London: Zed Books.
Shanahan, Elizabeth A., Jones, Michael D., and McBeth, Mark K.. 2018. “How to conduct a Narrative Policy Framework study.” The Social Science Journal 55: 332345.
Siegle, Lucy. 2013. “George Clooney Tastes Sustainability in Nespresso Coffee.” The Guardian, July 17.
Smith, David. 2015. “South Sudan to Export Coffee for the First Time.” The Guardian, October 8.
Smith, Jackie and Verdeja, Ernesto, eds. 2013. “Introduction.” In Globalization, Social Movements, and Peacebuilding. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.
Springer, Simon, Birch, Kean, and MacLeavy, Julie. 2016. The Handbook of Neoliberalism. New York and London: Routledge.
Starbucks. “Actor Ben Affleck Acknowledges Starbucks for ‘Transforming Lives’ in Congo.” 2015. Starbucks Newsroom. March 30. /news/actor-ben-affleck-acknowledges-starbucks-for-transforming-lives-in-congo.
TechnoServe. N.d. “Our History.” Retrieved May 10, 2018. http://www.technoserve.org/about-us/our-history.
TechnoServe. N.d. “Partner with Us.” Retrieved May 10, 2018. http://www.technoserve.org/get-involved/partner-with-us.
TechnoServe. Nn.d. “Video: Reviving the Coffee Culture in South SudanN.d. “Video: Reviving the Coffee Culture in South Sudan.” Retrieved May 10, 2018. http://www.technoserve.org/blog/reviving-high-quality-coffee-production-in-south-sudan.
Terazono, Emiko. 2016. “Hipster Coffee Boom Sends Buyers to Conflict Zones.” Financial Times, October 21.
Trefon, Theodore and Kabuyaya, Noël. 2018. Goma: Stories of Struggle and Sorrow from Eastern Congo. London: Zed Books.
Tsaliki, Liza, Frangonikolopoulos, Christos A., and Huliaras, Asteris, eds. 2011. “Introduction: The Challenge of Celebrity Activism: Background, Aim and Scope of the Book.” Transnational Celebrity Activism in Global Politics. Chicago: Intellect.
United Nations Development Programme. 2017. Human Development Report 2016: Human Development for Everyone. New York: United Nations. https://doi.org/10.18356/b6186701-en.
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). 2016. “USAID Joins Nespresso and TechnoServe to Support South Sudan’s Coffee Farmers; $3.18 Million Investment Will Accelerate Development of the Country’s Coffee Market.” https://www.nestle-nespresso.com/newsandfeatures/USAID-Nespresso-TechnoServe-South-Sudan-Coffee-Farmers.
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). 2018. “Global Development Alliances.” March 12. Retrieved February 4, 2019. https://www.usaid.gov/gda.
Wheeler, Mark. 2013. Celebrity Politics. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Wilson, Julie A. 2018. Neoliberalism. New York: Routledge.
Young, John. 2012. The Fate of Sudan: The Origins and Consequences of a Flawed Peace Process. London: Zed Books

Caffeinated Solutions as Neoliberal Politics: How Celebrities Create and Promote Partnerships for Peace and Development

  • Alexandra Cosima Budabin

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed