We invite you to read the new articles of Jessica Martins and Kim Allen, "Scripting the nation: Crisis celebrity, national treasures and welfare imaginaries in the pandemic" published in The Sociological Review.
Abstract: "Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrities occupied a highly contested space within the popular and political imaginary. Whilst the mass suffering unleashed by the pandemic led some to herald the death of celebrity culture, many celebrities also took part in fundraising initiatives, public health campaigns and philanthropic ventures, with some taking on the status of ‘national treasure’. This article examines two such figures who gained particular luminosity as ‘Covid Heroes’ for their charitable and campaigning work during the pandemic: war veteran Sir Captain Tom Moore and footballer Marcus Rashford. Through a discourse analysis of UK national newspaper articles and television documentaries, we consider what ideological work these celebrities perform within times of heightened crisis. The article expands upon Chris Greer and Eugene McLaughlin’s theorisation of the ‘national treasure’ in a number of ways, considering how, in ushering forth particular ideas about the nation, these figures secure or contest contemporary welfare imaginaries. Identifying how Rashford and Moore play a crucial role in what Stuart Hall called ‘scripting a national story’ within the pandemic, the article highlights the significance of ‘crisis celebrity’ as a site of hegemonic struggle over national identity, welfare, deservingness and belonging."