Just Fundraising? Finnish NGO campaign imaginaries of women and girls in the Global South

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201810023275
Julkaisun nimi: Just Fundraising? Finnish NGO campaign imaginaries of women and girls in the Global South
Tekijä: Kaskinen, Martta
Muu tekijä: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Politiikan ja talouden tutkimuksen laitos
Opinnäytteen taso: pro gradu -tutkielmat
Tiivistelmä: This thesis is a contribution to the discussion on gendered representations of Global South subjects in development NGOs’ communication in the West, and the imaginaries of development they create and maintain. Empirically, it focuses on the context of Finland and particularly, on Finnish NGO fundraising campaigns that concentrate on girls’ and women’s rights in the Global South. The changes in the Finnish political field within which NGOs operate gives contextual relevance to studying NGOs’ private fundraising in Finland. In 2016, the Finnish government cut public funding for development NGOs by 43 %, which forced many organisations to rethink their funding channels. NGOs have since reported increase in competition for donors, which has contributed to the NGO fundraising ‘markets’ increasingly functioning with a capitalistic market logic. Public discussions on development and distant human rights issues thus get increasingly reduced to advertisement appeals, as NGOs must to ‘sell’ the rights-holders’ deservingness of donations. At the same time, the Finnish spectator-donors’ imaginary power in ‘making a change’ is reinforced. This trend is not compatible with NGOs’ other important societal mission, which is the global education of Finnish citizens. A study conducted in 2015 shows that Finnish people’s knowledge on development in the Global South is extremely pessimistic. From a postcolonial perspective on knowledge production and power, this thesis challenges the ‘ends justify means’ argument by questioning whether pessimistic and colonial imaginaries should be the price to pay for fight against inequality – and ultimately, are these means productive for global equality. The empirical example campaigns for this thesis were Uncut by the International Solidarity Foundation, Maternity Wear for a 12-year-old by Plan International Finland, and Women’s Bank Walk by the Finn Church Aid –administered Women’s Bank. The ethnographic research consisted of 10 NGO and expert interviews, 8 short interviews with participants and volunteers in a campaign event, document analysis, discussions, participant observation, and online data collection. The data was analysed using qualitative and visual discourse analysis tools, against the theoretical framework of relevant postcolonial, post-humanitarian, feminist, and de-colonial theories. The main findings of the research are that although NGOs consciously strive for the ‘respectful representation’ of women and girls in the Global South, the capitalist marketing framework used in fundraising communication is not productive for challenging the underpinning colonial discourse. Rather, by a rhetorical logic of empowerment, the power relations are denied – which only reinforces subordination, albeit disguises it better. However, there are significant differences between NGOs on how their power in representation and knowledge production is understood and reflected upon.
URI: URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201810023275
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/277709
Päiväys: 2018
Avainsanat: Representation
imaginaries
Third World Women
girls in developing countries
subalternity
coloniality
postcolonialism
feminism
de-coloniality
NGOs
fundraising
campaigning
humanitarianism
marketisation
Oppiaine: Kehitysmaatutkimus
Development Studies
U-landsforskning


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