Progress or Regression? How Poverty and Development are Portrayed in Advertising

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Progress or Regression? How Poverty and Development are Portrayed in Advertising

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Publication 1-year master student thesis
Title Progress or Regression? How Poverty and Development are Portrayed in Advertising
Author(s) Bergman, Linnea
Date 2013
English abstract
The aim of this paper is to show how organizations portray the developing world and development support in advertisements and how it relates to the criticism existing against development support. What messages are sent to the reader? Do the advertisements contradict the existing criticism against development support or do they reinforce stereotypes and prejudices? Four organizations are analyzed: the Red Cross; Save the Children; PLAN Sweden; and We Effect. The main focus is on their campaigns and outreaching work connected to these campaigns. The analysis is based on a qualitative discourse analysis of the material complemented by a semiotic approach. The developing world is presented as old-fashioned and out obsolete. The problems existing there are simplified and insufficient solutions are offered. Children are commonly occurring and often presented as the main receivers of the support even though the support is available for all ages. Women are over-represented, while men are rarely occurring. However, men are indirect portrayed as the perpetrators and thus the notion of men is present, presenting them as dangerous and irresponsible. The women on the other hand are associated with traditional work e.g. cleaning and sewing as well as caring about the family. Despite that the organizations work all over the world the pictures mainly show black women and children. Overall the developing world is depicted as dependent on others to reach positive development. Difference is accentuated, which could increase prejudices and stereotypes. It is mainly rural environment that is portrayed, which could be seen as depicting the development world as old-fashion and timeless. Positive images of Sweden are used while negative images of other places creating a huge gap between the readers and the people and places presented.
Publisher Malmö högskola/Kultur och samhälle
Pages 41
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) stereotypes
development support
developing world
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