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Title: Distant lives, still voices : representations of the global poor by UK-based international development NGOs
Author: Dogra, Nandita
ISNI:       0000 0004 2713 1756
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis investigates the largely neglected role of NGOs as `institutions of representation' through a study of the public fundraising and advocacym essageso f UKbased international development NGOs (UKNGOs) with special focus on visual images. It draws upon post-colonial, cultural, media, development and social policy studies to examine how UKNGOs' public messages construct, and connect, developed (DW) and developing i. e. majority (MW) worlds, and why. This is achieved through a study of the `representational field' that incorporates three interlinked levels of messagesrepresentation, production and reception. The thesis develops a conceptual framework to analyse an annual corpus of UKNGOs' public messages (2005-06) through content and discourse analyses and Semiotics. It is complemented by interviews with UKNGO staff and members of British audiences. While there are instanceso f counter-hegemonicm essagesth at resist overall projections, many `ways of seeing', rooted in colonialism, Orientalism, Africanism and development, are embeddedi n UKNGOs' messagesth at project MW as `different' and `distant' from the DW. `Difference' and `distance' are realised, in intricate ways, through discursive strategies of infantilisation, feminisation and binaries of urban, dynamic DW and rural, stagnant MW. Global poverty is also represented in terms of `natural' or `internal' MW causes with small-scale development providing easy solutions. Simultaneously, the representations circumvent the historical context of, and continuities between, European colonialism and current global poverty instead connecting DW and MW through a de-historicised `oneness' of universal humanism. De-contextualisation in UKNGOs' communications stems from isomorphic managerialism, commercialisation and assumptions of a mono-cultural, fixed and a priori `Britishness' of audiences that precludes engagement with its imperial past. However, the plurality and commonalities of audience responses both challenge `Britishness' and reveal its durability. The thesis argues for a greater acknowledgment of NGOs as significant mediating institutions to expand and deepen audiences' understandings of global inequalities. 3
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available