Dissertation Abstracts

Star Politics: Starisation Processes of politics-per-media

Author: Viscardi, Rosa , rosaviscardi@gmail.com
Department: Social Science
University: University of Naples “Federico II”, Italy
Supervisor: Rosanna De Rosa
Year of completion: 2013
Language of dissertation: Italian

Keywords: stardom , celebrity , politics , media
Areas of Research: Communication, Knowledge and Culture , Political Sociology , Theory


The ‘star politics’ reveals itself in three phases that follow an adjoining evolutionary process of stardom: ‘divismo’, ‘star system’ and ‘post divismo’ (or ‘hyper divismo’). The phenomenon refers to a precise timeline which begins in 1938 when E.W. Hullinger, director of the documentary “The Private Life of Benito Mussolini”, defines the Italian leader as a ‘movie star’, and the process is fulfilled in 2003 when Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected 38th Governor of California. Furthermore, star politics is nourished by the journey towards international limelight of people involved in various ways in political discourse – people such as Eva Perón, Grace Kelly, John Paul II and Lady Diana. Obvious processes of spectacularization concern ‘politics-per-media’, or rather the set of expressions of government and power made explicit through all means of communication that have gradually been structuring the media system. In short: the management procedures of politics from a media perspective; and not only for electoral purposes, but as a broader task of building consensus. Stars and many political leaders possess charisma, this is what they have in common. However, which historical circumstances, symbolic structures and media narratives have led us to confuse politicians with celebrities? How and why did we get to the point of amusing ourselves with the former and letting the latter represent us?