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The humanitarian makeover

Orgad, Shani and Nikunen, Kaarina (2015) The humanitarian makeover. Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 12 (3). pp. 229-251. ISSN 1479-1420

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Identification Number: 10.1080/14791420.2015.1044255


We examine how the makeover paradigm is mobilized in contemporary humanitarian communications—a practice we call “humanitarian makeover.” We demonstrate its operation in the Finnish television programme Arman and the Children of Cameroon and Plan's 2013 International Day of the Girl event. The analysis shows how helping distant others is configured within a makeover and self-transformation narrative, providing a stage for performance of an “ethical self.” We argue that while the humanitarian impetus is to disturb and redress global inequality and injustice, which includes exposing and interrupting the failures of neoliberalism, the makeover paradigm is intimately connected to and reinforces individualized “moral citizenship,” which conforms to and reinforces neoliberal values.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 National Communication Association
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2015 11:35
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:03

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