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  1. New paper on celebrity endorsements and book markets by Craig Garthwaite, may be of interest.

    Abstract: This paper studies the economic effects of endorsements. In the publishing sector,
    endorsements from the Oprah Winfrey Book Club are found to be a business stealing form of
    advertising that raises title level sales without increasing the market size. The endorsements
    decrease aggregate adult fiction sales; likely as a result of the endorsed books being more
    difficult than those that otherwise would have been purchased. Economically meaningful
    sales increases are also found for non-endorsed titles by endorsed authors. These spillover
    demand estimates demonstrate a broad range of benefits from advertising for firms operating
    in a multiproduct brand setting.

    Full paper:

  2. Lene Bull Christiansen says:

    Dear All,

    My colleague Johanna Hood and I have a panel at the upcoming Inaugural Celebrity Studies Conference at Deakin University in Melbourne in December.

    Please find the attached call for papers if you are interested in participating in our panel, which is entitled: Celebrity, nationalism and transnational relations.

    Kind regards
    Lene Bull Christiansen

    Inaugural Celebrity Studies Conference, Deakin University,
    Melbourne, 12th-14th Dec. 2012
    For more information see:

    Call for papers:
    For the panel entitled: Celebrity, nationalism and transnational relations.
    Panel organizers:
    Johanna Hood, University of Technology, Sydney
    & Lene Bull Christiansen, Roskilde University, Copenhagen

    Panel description:
    The increasing diversity of celebrity involvement in contemporary social and political affairs allows celebrity to become a way of transcending class, geographic distances, cultures, and causes in global and national contexts.
    This panel brings together papers that engage the roles celebrities play in interpreting transnational relations, interconnecting disparate communities (in contexts of development and disaster aid, sports, political movements etc.) and functioning as mediators in and brokers for a global ‘affective economy.’ As the paradigms of ‘people we know so well’ that are simultaneously ‘just like us’ and ‘exemplary,’ celebrities have become proxy philanthropists, statesmen, executives, healers and moral models. Despite their benign appearances, their actions increasingly reveal a highly politicized agenda, from serving as brokers of democracy, witnesses to injustice, and agents for global and local governance strategies and agendas.
    This panel explores the ways in which communication strategies and subsequent representations of celebrity actions and agendas, combined with the apparent ease of celebrity involvement in non-entertainment roles, has helped popularize celebrity involvement in traditionally political arenas. These new venues for celebrity involvement help normalize a celebrity modality of cause advocacy and representation, mediation, and interpretation.

    The panel invites debates about how celebrity figures:
    • frame narratives of communality
    • function as political actors
    • bridge and/or disrupt established transnational relations
    • reflect governance strategies and priorities of governments and non-state actors such as WHO, UN etc.

    Already accepted papers:
    1. Author: Lene Bull Christiansen,
    Abstract: From Denmark with Love:
    This paper will read Danish celebrity narratives of development aid as a double articulation of national and transnational communality. This reading is done against the backdrop of the specificities of the Danish political and cultural context; primarily political struggles over a re-articulation of Denmark’s global image in the aftermath of the ‘cartoon crisis’ and Danish participation in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Over the last 10 years, a shift has occurred in Danish development awareness campaigns, away from ‘information about’ (so-called folkeoplysning) towards an affective modality of ‘witnessing.’ Central to this shift has been the ‘celebrity as moderator’; a narrative strategy in which ‘problems and solutions’ are mediated on a personalised level, through the eyes of the celebrity narrator, who witnesses ‘devastating suffering’ and ‘wonderful transformations.’ The experience of an emotional journey of healing or transformation in Africa affected by Danish development aid is then narrated onto a Danish aid-donating public as a narrative of how Danes enter into global communality by acting on suffering Africans.
    The paper will explore how this narrative strategy connects Danes with suffering Africans via an affective economy, and, how Danes can ascribe new meaning to the nation via the celebrity performance of affective communality.
    Biography: Lene Bull Christiansen holds a PhD in International Development Studies from Roskilde University, in Denmark, where she is affiliated as an Assistant Professor in the Cultural Encounters dep. Her current research project: ‘From Denmark with Love’ investigates celebrity narratives of development aid in the context of the annual Danish aid-telethon.
    2. Author: Johanna Hood,
    Abstract: Expanding the turf of Chinese health celebrities: beyond HIV and AIDS
    In this paper I explore how Chinese state ambitions for positive membership in bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN), and the benefits this entails locally and internationally, shape Chinese celebrity involvement in issues concerning health and disease, rather than local epidemiological concerns.
    I tackle a recent transition where celebrity involvement in health issues has expanded beyond HIV and AIDS, the key focus of most celebrity health activism until now. Using the appointment of Peng Liyuan, the renowned Chinese soprano, actress and wife of Xi Jinping, as the WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV as an example, I argue three points. First, that we can understand this transition for how it parallels The Global Fund, a major contributor to China’s coffers, foci on HIV, TB and Malaria. Second, that Peng’s appointment allows the Ministry of Health, the China Centre for Disease Control (China CDC) and international health bodies operating in China to capitalize on recent statistical advances in the control of TB in China to a much broader local and international audience. Finally, this appointment needs to be seen in light of its greater political implications, in that as the next up-and-coming ‘first lady,’ Peng helps make the Chinese government’s claim to ‘good governance’ in the field of healthcare much more intimate and convincing.
    Biography: Johanna Hood is a recent graduate of the China Research Centre, University of Technology, Sydney. Currently she is a post-doctoral fellow at the Australian Centre on China in the World at the Australian National University in Canberra. Johanna is the author of HIV/AIDS, Health and the Media in China (Routledge 2011), and researches celebrity and health activism, and health communication in China.

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