‘“Un geste suffit”? Unpacking the inconvenient truths about Al Gore’s celebrity activism

Marshall, David, D'Cruz, Glenn and Mcdonald, Sharyn 2018, ‘“Un geste suffit”? Unpacking the inconvenient truths about Al Gore’s celebrity activism, Persona studies, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 62-82, doi: 10.21153/psj2018vol4no2art757.

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Title ‘“Un geste suffit”? Unpacking the inconvenient truths about Al Gore’s celebrity activism
Author(s) Marshall, DavidORCID iD for Marshall, David orcid.org/0000-0002-0418-4447
D'Cruz, GlennORCID iD for D'Cruz, Glenn orcid.org/0000-0002-6438-1725
Mcdonald, SharynORCID iD for Mcdonald, Sharyn orcid.org/0000-0002-6534-4088
Journal name Persona studies
Volume number 4
Issue number 2
Article ID Special issue: design persona
Start page 62
End page 82
Total pages 17
Publisher Deakin University
Place of publication Burwood, Vic.
Publication date 2018-11
ISSN 2205-5258
Keyword(s) celebrity activism
Al Gore
climate change
An Inconvenient Truth (film)
design personas
Summary The present work interrogates Al Gore’s persona as a climate change activist with reference to a process we describe with the neologism “personafication”: the act of constructing/presenting a public persona in order to cultivate impressions that enable public figures to consolidate authoritative reputations. The formation of such a commanding persona requires the circulation of three forms of symbolic capital: cultural, celebrity, and reputational capital as well as the performance of overtly theatrical strategies calculated to establish an empathetic relationship between performer and audience. In 2006, former Vice President Al Gore released the award-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. This film subsequently functioned as a catalyst for various forms of climate change activism. This paper unpacks the contradictory ideological and cultural work performed by the film with reference to what we describe as un geste suffit; that is, those gestures that merely perform individual agency in order to connect the formulation of personal ethical identity to communal forms of political activism like environmentalism. Through a close reading of the presentation of Gore’s persona in the film itself, and research which tracks the reception and political efficacy of the film, the paper contributes to the growing body of scholarship on the politics of environmental/scientific communication. Finally, we locate our reading of Gore’s film within a contemporary context by making reference to the way An Inconvenient Truth is both resistant to and complicit with the environmental policies of the Trump administration.
Language eng
DOI 10.21153/psj2018vol4no2art757
Field of Research 200101 Communication Studies
Socio Economic Objective 950299 Communication not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2018, David Marshall, Glenn D'Cruz, Sharyn Mcdonald
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30115105

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