Electoral guerrilla theatre in the 2015 UK general election: critique, legitimacy and incorporation in the news coverage of celebrity election campaigns

Collins, Jeremy (2016) Electoral guerrilla theatre in the 2015 UK general election: critique, legitimacy and incorporation in the news coverage of celebrity election campaigns. Ethical Space: The International Journal of Communication Ethics, 13 (1). pp. 4-12. ISSN 1742-0105

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Abstract / Description

The involvement of celebrities in politics raises issues of legitimacy and representation, and fuels concern over the impact on traditional or conventional political activity. This paper analyses the 2015 UK general election campaigns of the comedian Al Murray, who stood against UKIP leader Nigel Farage, and the artist Bob and Roberta Smith, who stood in the constituency of Conservative minister Michael Gove. Conceptions of public representation via Nancy Fraser’s notion of subaltern counterpublics are considered, and definitions of celebrity politics are briefly explored. Each of these celebrity candidates displayed elements of theatricality in their campaign techniques, and the paper argues that while the campaigns could be seen as a form of electoral guerrilla theatre, the news coverage of the period leading up to the election suggests that neither campaign provided the kind of critical satirical edge that such a term might suggest. Consequently they were incorporated into the electoral process rather than providing any direct challenge to it.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: general elections; single-issue candidates; celebrity candidates; electoral guerrilla theatre; celebrity politics; Al Murray; Bob and Roberta Smith
Subjects: 300 Social sciences
300 Social sciences > 320 Political science
700 The arts; fine & decorative arts
Department: School of Computing and Digital Media
Depositing User: Jeremy Collins
Date Deposited: 20 May 2019 12:07
Last Modified: 20 May 2019 12:07
URI: http://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/4861

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