Charity Appeals as Poverty Porn? Production Ethics in Representing Suffering Children and Typhoon Haiyan Beneficiaries in the Philippines

2015-09-28T15:42:01Z (GMT) by Jonathan C. Ong
This paper explores the production process behind charity appeals in the context of developing Philippines. INGO appeals have traditionally been studied through textual analyses that expose their use of shock effect techniques and neo-colonial narratives that fail to bridge the “moral distance” between Western donors and “distant sufferers” (Chouliaraki, 2013; Vestergaard, 2009). Here, I develop an ethnographic approach to investigate the interactions between producers and the poor people who are subjects of appeals. I pay attention to producers’ articulations of “good work” and strategies of compliance and resistance as regards local media conventions of representing suffering within a culture of disaster and everyday suffering.

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