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Title: Conscience capitalism : celebrity involvement in NGO campaigns and the neoliberalisation of the non-profit sector
Author: Farrell, Nathan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 0838
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2012
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Abstract This thesis looks at the relationship between celebrity involvement in conscience capitalist NGO campaigns and the neoliberalisation of the non-profit sector. Conscience capitalism argues for the application of business principles to solve social/environmental problems, and/or the transformation of free-market capitalism to account for sociaVenvironmental externalities. This thesis argues that celebrity-inclusive conscience capitalist campaigns, contrary to constituting a challenge to neoliberalism, offer a means for neoliberalism to become hegemonic in the non-profit sector and to colonise conscience. It uses three case studies (peace One Day, (RED) and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign) and adopts semi- structured interviews, analyses of campaign texts and qualitative content analyses of the campaigns' social media websites, to demonstrate a range of the relationships between celebrity involvement in these types of campaigns and neoliberalism. It identifies the non-profit sector as an increasingly marketised environment, favouring campaigns that focus on uncontroversial issues, that represent the given social/environmental problem in a manner consistent with market solutions, and that disarticulate the problem from contexts in which capitalism might be seen as a contributory factor; while selecting against campaigns that fall outside these criteria. Celebrities perform an integral function in this environment, giving legitimacy to the campaign through eo-branding exercises between campaign and celebrity, and offering models to audiences of how to be an activist; models consistent with consumerism and entrepreneurialism. In doing so, they cite the individual as a central agent in progressive social change and often this represents activists as consumers and locates activism within a market framework. While acknowledging the impressive successes of each of the campaigns studied, this thesis is critical of the decontextualised manner in which they represent social/environmental problems and argues that celebrity involvement in these types of campaigns offers a way for neoliberalism to become hegemonic within the non-profit sector, enabling a neoliberal colonisation of conscience. 1
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available