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Maintaining social cultural dominance through intergroup helping: A critical discourse analysis of an international fundraising campaign

Gellen, Sandor (2017) Maintaining social cultural dominance through intergroup helping: A critical discourse analysis of an international fundraising campaign. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

A British coffee chain’s fundraising campaign constitutes a background for this study to examine the underlying ideologies behind British charitable giving. The chosen charity executes projects in ‘developing countries’ by providing education for children in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. The inter-group relations that are mediated by the campaign -the poor versus wealthy, the empowered versus the oppressed, the colonizer versus the victim- allows us to investigate charitable behaviour from inter-group perspective through the prism of power and inequality. The study takes a critical stance from a discursive paradigmatic perspective to analyse visual contents used in the campaign. The applied visual critical discourse analysis was inspired by Barthes’s semiotic theory. Findings revealed that the adverts’ interpretative repertoires serve ideologies that sustain the donors’ social-cultural dominance over the recipients by justifying group-based social hierarchies. The chains of signifiers do not question donors moral position but rationalise status quo and maintain undisturbed consumption. Findings suggest the possibility that prosocial behaviour that is incited under consuming conditions do not challenge but reconstruct and eventually sustain global inequality.

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