Celebritization in Czech Political Communication from 1989 to the Present
The position of celebrities in Czechoslovakia was particularly important in 1989, when political changes were coming to a head. Their prominence then continued – not just as post-revolutionary figures but also now as recognised contributors to discussions of political developments. Today, the role of celebrities in political communication is evident, and not just in the most recent parliamentary elections. The focus of this dissertation will be to look at how the involvement of celebrities in Czech political communication has continued to evolve in the post-1989 period. The starting point of this work will be to define celebrity in the specific context of Czech popular culture and political communication. The second part of the research will include a content analysis of selected daily press articles/ reports in pre-election periods. The results of content analysis will highlight the main examples of celebrity activity in political communication in the Czech Republic over the last twenty years. Selected cases will then be examined using critical discourse analysis. The project will focus on an examination of the news in the major daily newspapers that were and have been published in the Czech Republic and on the main Czech TV channels. One question the study will attempt to answer is whether the Czech situation mirrors that of foreign environments in terms of the conclusions to be drawn and observations made on the involvement (intrusion) of celebrities into political communication – the role played by celebritisation. The second question relates to the specificity of the concept of anticommunism that was manifested and more or less explicitly supported by some of the activities of popular figures. At the time, the concept of anti-communism could be seen in some primary analyses as one of the key defining characteristics of Czech political campaigns at the end of the 1990s. This work will reflect the ongoing academic debate over the ways in which politics and popular culture are interacting and influencing one another, as discussed by authors such as John Street, Liesbet van Zoonen, Paul A. Taylor and Jan Ll. Harris, Graeme Turner, Barry Richards and a number of others. The results will have produced not only a mapping of the impact of celebritisation on developments that have taken place, but will also have helped to provide an understanding of some of the consequences for further studies of contemporary, post-communist political communication, and for media studies in general.