Celebrity Politicians, Digital Campaigns, and Performances of Political Legitimacy in Indonesia’s 2019 Elections

Annisa R. Beta, Taberez Ahmed Neyazi


This article looks into celebrity politicians’ social media campaigns during Indonesia’s 2019 elections. It examines the visual political communication strategies of celebrity politicians, particularly how they use their fame and celebrity status to make claims as political candidates and how they transform their fame into political legitimacy through social media. In the process of establishing their political legitimacy, celebrity politicians deploy “affective power.” While conventional politicians may use similar strategies on social media, the celebrity politicians’ online performance styles are foundational in how the celebrities construct and maintain their often-precarious political legitimacy to the public. Three patterns emerged. First, celebrity politicians used images of them surrounded by people to indicate their celebrity status and political legitimacy. Second, they highlighted their work ethic and commitment to the public cause. Third, they used visual markers of allegiance to the presidential candidates to claim their political legitimacy. This article contributes to the study of celebrity politicians by extending our understanding of the performance and construction of political legitimacy by celebrity politicians on social media.


celebrity politicians, political legitimacy, social media, Indonesia

Full Text: