World War and the Cultural Politics of Authority
This chapter, by Sue Collins, historicizes Hollywood stardom’s legitimation as a source of political authority during World War I and World War II. It charts film stars’ participation in war mobilization from the Liberty Loan bond drives of World War I to the star appearances, war relief, and USO activities managed by the Hollywood Victory Committee during the World War II. By showing how the government’s valorization of the popular became a mode of authority exploitable for propaganda, the chapter argues that the stars’ war work established a new logic for celebrity as a crucial personification of state discourse and cultural policy supporting state power during wartime.
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