What is Donald Trump?: Forms of 'celebrity' in celebrity politics

Street, John ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9650-063X (2019) What is Donald Trump?: Forms of 'celebrity' in celebrity politics. Political Studies Review, 17 (1). pp. 3-13. ISSN 1478-9299

[thumbnail of Accepted manuscript]
PDF (Accepted manuscript) - Accepted Version
Download (700kB) | Preview


It is widely assumed that Donald Trump is a ‘celebrity politician’, and that he has cashed in his success on the reality show The Apprentice to secure political credibility and attention. In this respect he fits what Matthew Wood et al (2016) have labelled the ‘superstar celebrity politician’. This characterisation is the latest in a number of refinements to the definition and understanding of the celebrity politician. While this is a helpful move, I want to suggest that it might overlook one key dimension of the phenomenon. Definitions of the celebrity politician tend to focus on the source of their ‘celebrity’ – how they became famous, rather than on how they act out their celebrity role. This latter dimension features in media coverage, where journalists and commentators borrow from showbusiness to describe politics, but is less often analysed in the political science literature. It matters because, I want to suggest, celebrity politicians like Trump act as stars, whether of reality television, rock music or film. They do not just resemble stars; they are them. This is evident in how they are represented, how they perform and how their ‘fans’ respond to them. It is also symptomatic of wider changes in the conduct and form of the contemporary, mediatised political realm.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: donald trump,celebrity politics,populism,mediatisation
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Political, Social and International Studies
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Cultural Politics, Communications & Media
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Policy & Politics
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Centres > Centre for Competition Policy
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 10 May 2018 14:30
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 09:49
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/67025
DOI: 10.1177/1478929918772995


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item