Lights, camera, election: celebrity, performance and the 2010 UK general election leadership debates

Philip Drake, Michael Higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The 2010 general election was the first in the UK in which a series of televised leaders' debates were broadcast. This article takes forward research on mediated political performance and the relationship between celebrity and politics through an analysis of these debates. By discussing how the candidates perform ‘personality’, the article highlights the use of performance in constructing informality and a personalised audience address, contrasting these with where candidates engage in conventional political speech-making. The article also examines the strategic use of language, particularly where it is designed to align speakers with the public in opposition to the political establishment. The article argues that celebrity should not be viewed as an innate quality but instead as an interpretative set of frames, the terms of which are established through performance. The article concludes by reflecting upon the implications that can be drawn about the relationship between performance, framing and political celebrity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-391
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
Volume14
Issue number3
Early online date10 May 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012

Keywords

  • celebrity
  • leadership
  • framing
  • television

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