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Marketing Development: Live 8 and the Production of the Global Citizen


  • The author gratefully acknowledges helpful comments on an earlier version of this essay.


This contribution argues that a recent crisis in British national narrative has been transformed into a marketing campaign for development. This is an exercise aimed at creating the figure of the ‘Global Citizen’, which has an attitude and aptitude for neoliberal globalization and which acts as a bulwark against recent mass popular protest criticizing the institutions of global governance. The marketing campaign for development culminated recently in a mass commodity spectacle in the form of Live 8, co-opting the voices of critique and acting as a theatre of legitimation for neoliberal global governance. This has been done by the very actors who stand most to gain from the development agenda currently being proposed for Africa in G8 ministerial talks. This whole fiasco, which occurs within an environment of raging debates over the ‘new’ American imperialism, itself bears the mark of empire.