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Celebrity humanitarianism and international development an analysis of Oprah, Bono, and Angelina Jolie in Africa

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posted on 2021-06-08, 10:08 authored by Chantal Petrie
Sub-Saharan Africa has become a popular destination for Hollywood celebritites to embark on humanitarian missions, in attempt to combat the problems of poverty, AIDS, and underdevelopment in Africa. However, celebrity humanitarians take for granted that development giving is an altruistic enterprise that can only bring about positive results for the communities and peoples involved. Using three celebrity case studies, I will show how humanitarian giving can result in unforeseen consequences, even when the gift of development is given with altruistic intentions. The celebrities analyzed in this thesis including Oprah Winfrey, Paul (Bono) Hewson, and Angelina Jolie, each adopt Western consumerist strategies that are incompatible with the diverse values and worldviews found in Africa. In addition, development giving provides an unsustainable solution for a collective global future, and is not exempt from forms of inequality, dependency, domination, and exploitation that privilege the Western subject through dehumanizing others.





Master of Arts


Communication and Culture

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


Thesis Advisor

Amin Alhassan