Lifestyle solidarity - corporate branding, celebrity culture and the digital media

In the 21st century, lifestyle solidarity invites people to care about those in need in ways that are radically different from the solidarities of the past. Just think of activist tourism as a way for people to understand and connect better to contexts of ‘crisis’.  Also, celebrities become advocates: from Audrey Hepburn to Angelina Jolie, for example. In this talk, I explore the different techniques through which lifestyle solidarity is actualized today: corporate branding, celebrity advocacy and digital activism (clicking, liking, sharing etc).   Reflecting on the implications that this form of solidarity has on ‘our’ cultures as much as on those in need, I suggest alternatives for a new imagination of what a 21st century solidarity might look like.

Professor Chouliaraki has written a book relevant to the subject of this lecture, published by Polity Editions in 2015: The Ironic Spectator Solidarity in the Age of Post-Humanitarianism. The book has been made available in Greek by Nissos Publications: Ο ειρωνικός θεατής. Η αλληλεγγύη χτες και σήμερα . 

Speaker: Lilie Chouliaraki, Professor of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science
Chair: Kevin Featherstone, Head of the European Institute; Eleftherios Venizelos Professor of Contemporary Greek Studies and Professor of European Politics
Discussant: Dimitri A. Sotiropoulos, Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science and Public Administration,National and Kapodistrian University, Athens
Date: Thursday 31 May 2018
Time: 19:00
Venue:  Hermes Hall (6th Floor), Αthens Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Akadimias 7, 10671 Athens, Greece



Chouliaraki 200x200

Lilie Chouliaraki is Professor of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research interest lies in the histories and contemporary challenges of mediated suffering. Her work has focused on four key domains in which the human body-in-need appears as a problem of communication and action: humanitarian campaigns, celebrity advocacy, migration news and war & conflict reporting. Relevant publications include 'Discourse in Late Modernity’ (1999), ‘The Spectatorship of Suffering’ (2006), ‘The Soft Power of War’ (ed., 2008) and ‘The Ironic Spectator. Solidarity in the Age of Post-humanitarianism’ (2013) as well as approximately seventy articles in peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes. She is currently working on a book about mobile phone testimonies from contemporary conflict zones (Syria and Yemen). She is the recipient of three international awards for her publications, more recently the Outstanding Book of the Year award of the International Communication Association (ICA 2015, for ‘The Ironic Spectator. Solidarity in the age of post-humanitarianism’). 





Dimitrios A. Sotiropoulos is Professor of Comparative Politics at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Athens, Research Associate of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy Studies (ELIAMEP, Athens) and Research Associate of the Hellenic Observatory at the London School of Economics (LSE). He has studied at the Law School of the University of Athens, the LSE (M.Sc. 1986) and Yale University (M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. 1991). In 2009-2010 Dr. Sotiropoulos was Visiting Fellow, Southeast European Studies (SEESOX), St. Antony’s College, Oxford and in fall 2016 a visiting fellow at the Sciences Po, Paris. He has also taught at the University of Crete and the Institute Juan March, Madrid, Spain. His publications include: Is Southern Europe Doomed to Instability?, co-edited with Thanos Veremis, London: Frank Cass, 2002; and TheStateandDemocracyintheNewSouthernEurope,co-edited with Richard Gunther and P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006 and Greek Civil Society and the Economic Crisis, Athens: Potamos, 2017 (in Greek). Currently he serves as Director of the social science Master’s Degree in South East European Studies of the University of Athens (taught in English).





Featherstone Kevin 200x200

Kevin Featherstone is Eleftherios Venizelos Professor of Contemporary Greek Studies and Professor of European Politics. He is currently the Head of the European Institute and was long-term Director of the Hellenic Observatory and Co-Chair of LSEE: Research on South-East Europe within the European Institute. He has held visiting positions at the University of Minnesota; New York University; and Harvard University.  Before LSE, he held academic posts at the universities of Stirling and Bradford.  In 2009-10 he served on an advisory committee to Prime Minister George Papandreou for the reform of the Greek government.  He was the first foreign member of the National Council for Research and Technology (ESET) in Greece, serving from 2010-2013.  He is Vice-Chair of the Academic Council of 'Atomium Culture', Brussels, a not-for-profit promoting collaboration within the European Research Area.  In 2013 he was made ‘Commander: Order of the Phoenix’ by the President of the Hellenic Republic.  In 2014, the European Parliament selected one of his books (co-authored with Kenneth Dyson) as one of its ‘100 Books on Europe to Remember’. He has contributed regularly to ‘Kathimerini’.