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The Moral Economy of Aid: Discourse Analysis of Swedish Fundraising for the Somalia Famine of 2011–2012
2016 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This working paper investigates how aid has been constructed as a moral activity in Swedish non-governmental fundraising for the Somalia Famine of 2011–2012. Fundraising material of four NGOs is examined: the Swedish Red Cross, Save the Children Sweden, Médecins Sans Frontières Sweden, and Diakonia Sweden. Using a moral economy approach, the paper identifies a central discourse in which NGOs present themselves as givers of charity. They depict the aid they provide as a commendable, non-obligatory act for which they take the moral credit. This view reaffirms the existence of moral hierarchies of power between givers and recipients of aid. The notion that people in distress are entitled to aid is thereby repudiated. At the same time, NGOs break the aid chain when they characterize their role as being the sole provider of aid. How transactions between donors, NGOs, and recipients should best be understood is not clear at present. In fact, the NGOs studied do not only construct aid as charity, but also as a right, resulting in conflicting moral economies. Perhaps this is a sign of a discourse moving from a charity conception towards an entitlement conception of aid.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Huddinge: Södertörns högskola , 2016. , 57 p.
Working Paper, ISSN 1404-1480 ; 2016:5
Keyword [en]
Sweden, NGOs, 2011 East Africa drought, relief, aid appeals, charity, entitlement
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Historical Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-30985OAI: diva2:1035935
The Moral Economy of Global Civil Society
Available from: 2016-10-13 Created: 2016-10-13 Last updated: 2016-10-13

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