Description: Through the efforts of increasingly global and media-aware NGOs, people in the west are bombarded with images of poverty, suffering and inequality. Representations of Global Poverty is the first comprehensive study of the communications and imagery used by international NGOs to represent the developing world. An enlightening study, this book explores the discursive constructions of global poverty and development by international charities and their role in mediating between developed countries and the developing world. It presents a detailed empirical review of the communications of international NGOs, utilizing an original postcolonial analytical framework to better understand and evaluate these public messages.
The book examines three interlinked levels of the public messages of UK-based international development NGOs (INGOs) - representation, production and reception. This review of the fundraising and advocacy messages of INGOs shows a dualism of , difference" and "oneness". While these messages portray the developing world as different and distant, they are also at pains to present it as sharing the same human values. These oversimplified representations circumvent the historical context of, and continuities between, European colonialism and current global poverty. Instead they connect the globe through a de-historicised universal humanism. This decontextualization in INGOs" communications stems from both institutional isomorphism and sociological assumptions about audiences.
Dogra"s book goes on to reveal the role of western collective histories in shaping global inequalities and our subjectivities in the way we perceive and position ourselves in relation to the majority world. From historical amnesia to denial, charity to justice and rights, feel-good consumerism to activism, humanism and cosmopolitanism to Eurocentrism and Britishness, it analyses NGO representations through a variety of discourses. Boldly interdisciplinary, the book draws upon sociology, NGO management, development, social policy, political science, postcolonial, cultural and media studies and as such is essential reading for students and scholars across these diverse fields. This book should become the starting point for future debates on representations and global poverty that concern not just charities, international aid bodies, governments and academic institutions but all of us who live in a deeply connected but divided world.
Contents: Introduction • International NGOs and representations • Global poverty, world history and representations of "Others": Colonialism, Orientalism and Development • Methods and terminologies • Chapter outlines • Part I - Difference and Distance • Introduction • Overview of INGOs" annual messages: 2005/6 • Cast of Characters • Innocent children • Deserving "Third World women" • "Givers" and "takers" • Active-Passive • Giver-Receiver • Conclusion • Distant Spaces • Lands of famine and disaster • The rural-urban divide • Conclusion • Global Poverty – Causes and Solutions • Myths of ‘Internal’ causes • Corruption • Overpopulation • Violence • ‘External’ causes – Mother Nature and medicalisation • Development as easy solutions • Conclusion • Part II – Oneness • Introduction • One Humanity • Humanism and cosmopolitanism • Human rights • Contesting myths – shared histories and structures • Distancing humanity – the power of dualism and fetishism • Uniform First World – NGO Perspectives • A Limited debate – the ‘negative’/’positive’ divide • Institutional isomorphism – professionalization, marketisation and branding • Decontextualisation and dehistoricisation of message • One market – cultural or institutional denial? • Conclusion • Part III – Reflexivity • Introduction • Lives of Others - Audience Responses • INGOs and the genre of charity messages • Connecting "self" with "others" • History, knowledge and emotions • Porous boundaries of personal and collective • Conclusion • Towards Reflexive Understandings • Distant lives, still voices • Implications for NGO management • Beyond "the human • Annex I: Comparison of methods of textual & visual analysis Notes • Bibliography • Index
About the Author: Nandita Dogra is a postdoctoral fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. She holds an MSc in NGO Management and a PhD in Social Policy from the London School of Economics and has extensive professional experience in development and social policy.
exactly do international non-government organisations conceptualise the
developing world when they legislate their mandate? This valuable book
addresses precisely this question by insightnilly and skillfully
unearthing the subtext of NGO representations of global poverty,
development and rights."
Neera Chandhoke, Professor of Political Science, University of Delhi
"This provocative analysis of
the visual language of British-international non-governmental
development organisations raises a set of important and pressing
questions, and deserves to be read by practitioner and researcher
David Lewis, Professor of Social Policy and Development, London School of Economics