Brand Machiavelli

Dr. Michael Jackson


In this paper I analyze the reputation of Niccolò Machiavelli against the criteria of celebrity found in the Cultural Studies literature. Applied to Machiavelli these criteria include the detachment of his name from any substance of his works, life, or thought; trading on the recognition of his name; the appetite for biographies of him; and the integration of his very name into the common parlance in the adjective “Machiavellian” and the noun “Machiavellianism” which are widely used as self-explanatory in the media, press, and You Tube videos, music, and social media. The evidence adduced for these conclusions is mainly in books—print and digital—but incorporates film, plays, music, and commerce. In short, Machiavelli has accumulated sufficient media capital to be internalized into the popular culture and so rendered an immortal celebrity, i.e., that is Brand Machiavelli.

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