Popular representations of development: creating global alliances or reproducing inequalities? 途上国をめぐる表現の傾向:国際的連携への一歩か不平等の再形成か?

This is a summary of public lecture held at Birkbeck University in London by Professor Uma Kothari from University of Manchester

マンチェスター大学のUma Kothari教授が「Popular representations of development: creating global alliances or reproducing inequalities?  (途上国をめぐる表現の傾向:国際的連携への一歩か不平等の再形成か?)」と題し、バークベック大(ロンドン)で講演されました。以下主な内容を記載します。

Lecutre Outline 講演要約:

Most people gain their knowledge about poverty and inequality and other development-related concerns from very public representations of the lives of other people in distant places. Indeed, since the 1980s there has been a vast proliferation of campaigns, charity adverts, musical movements, fair trade marketing, celebrity endorsements and media promotions to support international development.  But do these popular representations of international development concerns and the diverse public spheres in which engagements with development take place have the potential to instil ideas of global interconnectedness, produce an ethos of care for distant suffering others and forge new kinds of global alliances? Or do popular, visual images and the increasing involvement of public figures, celebrities and the media reproduce global inequalities, obscure the structural realities of poverty and rather than forging a common humanity reinforce hierarchies between people and places? This lecture explores these issues through an analysis of historical and contemporary representations of international development and the use of popular, visual campaigns to strengthen global connections.



Background information for Japanese who are new to this kind of discussion 補足情報:



Lecture content of what I could get to hear 講演:

Individuality in the story and representation receives more attention as they are powerful. At the same time, we cannot represent the whole village fully or equally.

There are also “resisting representations” toward dominant, ordinary representations, which gives different perspective toward people in third world. It involves sarcasm, or imagination of reality.



But these differences in images can take our mind away from really thinking about political-economy issues.


Civil conflicts occur from inhumane of one side and violence toward the other.Natural disasters occur from unpredictable consequence of nature, and it is more likely to draw common humanity and attention.


However, we can see one provoking image and not care about where it really came from.

Then, one provoking image can be used repeatedly in different stories.

Example of a photo of saddened boy hugging his younger sister can be titled as victim of earthquake in Bhutan, orphan looking for shelter and food in Myanmar, or anything else.

These random interpretation leads to miss-interpretation.




Discussion in Q and A質疑応答とディスカッション:

1) The consumers construct identity through consumption such as sticking with Fair-trade chocolates but it also is not clear how it really makes difference. It can bring attention but casts away thinking the issue carefully and critically.


2) What can we do to flip so called Western way of representing others? What is the alternative? Thinking critically and change behavior, find the organization which you can really trust from the way these organization tackle complex issues. Not everything is “money-issue”


3) In the case of “take back our girls” campaign, the issue has not shed a light on for a while before the tweeting trend and political actions of Western society comes out. It also involves with political discourse and political interest.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s