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‘Endorsing a dictatorship and getting paid for it’ : Discursive struggles over intimacy and authenticity in the politicisation of influencer collaborations

Authors
  • Arnesson, Johanna
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2022
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1177/14614448211064302
OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-192386
Source
DiVA - Academic Archive On-line
Keywords
Language
English
License
Green
External links

Abstract

Politically motivated criticism of influencer collaborations with certain brands or organisations is a recurring feature on social media today. This article is based on a case study of followers’ reactions to collaborations between two popular Swedish influencers and Visit Dubai, the governmental tourism agency of the United Arab Emirates. Drawing on critical discourse analysis, the article takes a sociocultural approach to influencer marketing and examines how and why politicisation happens in comments to sponsored posts. The analysis focuses on discursive struggles over the construction of political issues and the role of influencers, as well as expressions of perceived interconnectedness and authenticity work among followers. It offers a qualitative understanding of audience perceptions of influencers’ political power and responsibilities, and argues that this is connected to how the role of influencers is constructed – as a friend or as promotional professional.

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