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Visualizers of solidarity: organizational politics in humanitarian and international development NGOs

Orgad, Shani (2013) Visualizers of solidarity: organizational politics in humanitarian and international development NGOs. Visual Communication, 12 (3). pp. 295-314. ISSN 1470-3572 (Submitted)

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Identification Number: 10.1177/1470357213483057


iscussion of the visual politics of solidarity, in relation specifically to the representation of suffering and development, has been grounded in analysis of images. This article seeks to expand this debate by exploring the organizational politics that shape and are shaped by these images. The article is inspired by production studies in the cultural industries and draws on interviews with 17 professionals from 10 UK-based international development and humanitarian organizations that are engaged in planning and producing imagery of international development and humanitarian issues. The author discusses how power relations, tensions and position-taking shape the arguments and choices made by NGOs producing images of suffering and development. She focuses on two arenas of struggle about how to visualize solidarity: (a) intra-organizational politics - specifically tensions within NGOs between fundraising and/or marketing departments, and communications, campaign and/or advocacy departments; and (2) inter-organizational politics: the competing tendencies towards convergence, cohesiveness and collective identity of the humanitarian sector, and competition, distinction and divergence between organizations on the other. She shows that NGOs' visual production is an area of conflict, negotiation and compromise, and argues for the crucial need for attention to organizational politics in the production of visual representations of distant suffering in order to uncover diverse and competing motivations, and the forces driving current humanitarian and development communications.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 The Author
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 07 May 2013 13:52
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:03
Funders: Leverhulme Trust

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