The Moral Economy of Aid

Discourse Analysis of Swedish Fundraising for the Somalia Famine of 2011–2012

Omslag för The Moral Economy of Aid: Discourse Analysis of Swedish Fundraising for the Somalia Famine of 2011–2012

Lindström, Julia

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.

Huddinge : Södertörns högskola, 2016. 57 sidor.

Serie: Working Paper, 1404-1480 ; 2016:5