Celebrity Capital in the Political Field: Russell Brand’s migration from stand-up comedy to Newsnight

Arthurs, J. and Shaw, S. 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. doi:10.1177/0163443716635869

TitleCelebrity Capital in the Political Field: Russell Brand’s migration from stand-up comedy to Newsnight
AuthorsArthurs, J. and Shaw, S.
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 undertook a conversational analysis of his notorious interview with Jeremy Paxman on the British Broadcasting Corporation (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 United Kingdom. In order to do so, he repurposed his celebrity capital to political ends and successfully deployed the cultural and social capitals he had developed as a celebrity comedian to secure widespread engagement with his media performances.

KeywordsCelebrity, celebrity capital, Conversation Analysis, comedy, cultural capital, Jeremy Paxman, Russell Brand, political activism
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Journal citation38 (8), pp. 1136-1152
ISSN0163-4437
Year2016
PublisherSage
Accepted author manuscriptCelebrity Capital in the Political Fieldrep.pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1177/0163443716635869
Web address (URL)http://mcs.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/03/15/0163443716635869.abstract
Publication dates
Published15 Mar 2016
Published online15 Mar 2016
Published in printNov 2016

Related outputs

Women, Language and Politics
Shaw, S. 2020. Women, Language and Politics. Cambridge Cambridge University Press.

Off the record: The transcription of parliamentary debates for political discourse analysis
Shaw, S. 2018. Off the record: The transcription of parliamentary debates for political discourse analysis. in: Kranert, M. and Horan, G. (ed.) Doing Politics: Discursivity, Performativity and Mediation in Political Discourse Amsterdam John Benjamins. pp. 105-126

Meeting the public: the perils and pitfalls of ‘walkabout’ questions to Theresa May in GE2017
Shaw, S. 2017. Meeting the public: the perils and pitfalls of ‘walkabout’ questions to Theresa May in GE2017. in: Thorsen, Einar and Jackson, Daniel (ed.) UK Election Analysis 2017: Media, Voters and the Campaign Bournemouth Bournemouth University/Political Studies Association. pp. 32-33

Interaction and 'the floor' in the televised debates of the EU referendum campaign
Shaw, S. 2016. Interaction and 'the floor' in the televised debates of the EU referendum campaign. in: Jackson, Daniel, Thorsen, Einar and Wring, D. (ed.) EU Referendum Analysis 2016: Media, Voters and the Campaign Poole Bournemouth University/Political Studies Association. pp. 70-71

Gender, Power and Political Speech: Women and Language in the 2015 UK General Election
Shaw, S. and Cameron, D. 2016. Gender, Power and Political Speech: Women and Language in the 2015 UK General Election. Basingstoke Palgrave Macmillan.

Winning and losing the ‘battle for number 10’: a linguistic analysis of the Paxman vs Cameron/Miliband election interviews
Shaw, S. 2015. Winning and losing the ‘battle for number 10’: a linguistic analysis of the Paxman vs Cameron/Miliband election interviews. in: Jackson, D. and Thorsen, E. (ed.) UK Election Analysis 2015: Media, Voters and the Campaign Bournemouth University/Political Studies Association. pp. 22

An ethnographic investigation into gender and language in the Northern Ireland Assembly
Shaw, S. 2013. An ethnographic investigation into gender and language in the Northern Ireland Assembly. in: Poggi, I., D'Errico, F., Vincze, L. and Vinciarelli, A. (ed.) Multimodal Communication in Political Speech. Shaping Minds and Social Action: International Workshop, Political Speech 2010, Rome, Italy, November 10-12, 2010, revised selected papers Springer. pp. 39-53

Gender and politics in the devolved assemblies
Shaw, S. 2013. Gender and politics in the devolved assemblies. Soundings: a journal of politics and culture. 55 (Winter), pp. 81-93. doi:10.3898/136266213809450301

'I am not an Honourable Lady': gender and language in the National Assembly for Wales
Shaw, S. 2011. 'I am not an Honourable Lady': gender and language in the National Assembly for Wales. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice. 8 (3), pp. 275-294. doi:10.1558/japl.v8i3.275

Too polite to fight? What happens when women enter the House?
Shaw, S. 2008. Too polite to fight? What happens when women enter the House? emagazine. 42, pp. 37-38.

Governed by the rules? The female voice in parliamentary debates
Shaw, S. 2006. Governed by the rules? The female voice in parliamentary debates. in: Baxter, J. (ed.) Speaking out: the female voice in public contexts Basingstoke Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 81-102

Language and gender in political debates in the House of Commons
Shaw, S. 2002. Language and gender in political debates in the House of Commons. PhD thesis The Institute of Education, University of London

Gender, language and floor apportionment in political debates
Shaw, S. 2000. Gender, language and floor apportionment in political debates. Discourse and Society. 11 (3), pp. 401-418. doi:10.1177/0957926500011003006

Demystifying the contents and construction of dictionaries
Shaw, S. 1999. Demystifying the contents and construction of dictionaries. in: Wheeler, R. (ed.) Language alive in the classroom London Praeger. pp. 189-199

Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/9y409/celebrity-capital-in-the-political-field-russell-brand-s-migration-from-stand-up-comedy-to-newsnight


Share this
Tweet
Email