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Underline, celebrate, mitigate, erase: humanitarian NGOs’ strategies of communicating difference

Orgad, Shani (2015) Underline, celebrate, mitigate, erase: humanitarian NGOs’ strategies of communicating difference. In: Cottle, S. and Cooper, G., (eds.) Humanitarianism, Communications and Change. Verlag Peter Lang, New York, USA, pp. 117-132. ISBN 9781433125263

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Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are amongst the central producers of representations of humanitarianism in the contemporary global mediated space. Their messages rely heavily on symbolically representing ‘the other’ – victims of atrocities, natural disasters and human rights abuses, and children and women in the global South – to elicit care, compassion, and action from audiences primarily in the global North. This paper expands debate on representation of distant suffering and international development by exploring how NGO practitioners’ frames of thinking and understanding inform their communications practices and shape particular choices of how to portray difference and otherness. It examines four strategies employed by NGOs in their planning and production of communications of international development, humanitarian aid and human rights abuses, namely underlining, celebrating, mitigating and erasing difference. The discussion is based on thematic analysis of in-depth interviews with 17 NGO professionals in 10 UK-based organizations, responsible for the design and production of international development, humanitarian crisis and human rights abuse communications, and analysis of 12 communication items selected by representatives of those NGOs.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 Peter Lang
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2014 11:57
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 09:57
Funders: NGO representations and the institutional dimensions

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