This research project argues that ‘influencer culture’ represents a significant redistribution of charismatic authority in the modern age.
In 2021, the UK’s Parliamentary Committee for Digital Culture Media and Sport launched an official inquiry into the operation of ‘influencer culture’ and the power of influencers on social media. Subject to political investigation, influencer culture is also the site of intense social anxiety concerning our image-oriented worlds. Yet influencers have long been central to an understanding of an affective politics, entering the public sphere in ways that are not securely mediated by the state.
This research project builds upon Dr Julie Walsh's previous work on cultural narcissism which contested the melancholia of sociological discourse as it narrates the fragmentation of the public sphere.