To illustrate and exemplify the relationship between power and representation in development critique, this section analyses a television commercial for a major international non-governmental organization. The advert starts by showing a poverty-stricken girl, emaciated, gaunt, with a distant glazed look on her face. The narrator, an English male, reads
Asha would ask you something if she could. She’d ask you to save her life, but she’s too exhausted. She’s starving. She’d look you in the eye; she’d ask again if she thought someone, somewhere had the heart to help.
Over footage of other starving children, accompanied by a slow, melancholy piano, the narrator continues:
Please, help a child like Asha right now. We know what it takes to save a child’s life. The solutions are simple, but we need your help . . . Asha can’t ask you, but we can. Please will you stop children dying?
While Asha’s story provokes feelings of pity, compassion and perhaps anger, disgust or guilt, these immediate reactions obscure deeper critical inquiry. The advert describes Asha’s plight in great detail, but it leaves many other questions unanswered. First, where does Asha live? To many viewers, Asha’s surroundings and skin colour suggest somewhere in Africa, but by leaving this unstated the advert places her in a vague, stereotypical Third World context. Second, why is she starving? Is it due to political oppression, or perhaps fluctuations in food prices caused by global markets? By not addressing this, the advert suggests this condition is an intrinsic or inevitable feature of living conditions in the ‘Third World’. Even Asha’s name raises certain questions: would the advert have the same impact if she were called Susan or Jennifer?
What is clear is that Asha’s life is deficient, even pitiable in nearly every respect, but everything else is vague and unstated. Furthermore, the audience is continually reminded that Asha cannot speak for herself; instead, we must rely on the narrator to describe her plight. Thus, in this relationship the narrator (and by extension the development organization), hold all the power: they are able to put forward a representation that is remarkably one-sided: poverty is focused upon to the exclusion of all else.
Through this advert, one clearly sees the issues raised by poststructuralists such as Escobar (1995). Representation is asymmetric: the object of development (Asha) is represented by the narrator, who grounds his authority in knowledge (‘We know what it takes to save a child’s life’). As Trudell (2009) notes, the primary feature of the development discourse is deficiency, often to the exclusion of all else. Thus, Asha is described only in terms of her problems and deficits. According to poststructuralists, the claim to save children like Asha is ultimately bankrupt; instead the concept of development is used as a guide to perpetuate a relationship of power and control.
How are issues of poverty and development portrayed in the media? How does this reflect upon the international development sector as a whole?
Why Work with Us
Top Quality and Well-Researched Papers
We always make sure that writers follow all your instructions precisely. You can choose your academic level: high school, college/university or professional, and we will assign a writer who has a respective degree.
Professional and Experienced Academic Writers
We have a team of professional writers with experience in academic and business writing. Many are native speakers and able to perform any task for which you need help.
Free Unlimited Revisions
If you think we missed something, send your order for a free revision. You have 10 days to submit the order for review after you have received the final document. You can do this yourself after logging into your personal account or by contacting our support.
Prompt Delivery and 100% Money-Back-Guarantee
All papers are always delivered on time. In case we need more time to master your paper, we may contact you regarding the deadline extension. In case you cannot provide us with more time, a 100% refund is guaranteed.
Original & Confidential
We use several writing tools checks to ensure that all documents you receive are free from plagiarism. Our editors carefully review all quotations in the text. We also promise maximum confidentiality in all of our services.
24/7 Customer Support
Our support agents are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and committed to providing you with the best customer experience. Get in touch whenever you need any assistance.
Try it now!
How it works?
Follow these simple steps to get your paper done
Place your order
Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.
Proceed with the payment
Choose the payment system that suits you most.
Receive the final file
Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.
No need to work on your paper at night. Sleep tight, we will cover your back. We offer all kinds of writing services.
No matter what kind of academic paper you need and how urgent you need it, you are welcome to choose your academic level and the type of your paper at an affordable price. We take care of all your paper needs and give a 24/7 customer care support system.
Admission Essays & Business Writing Help
An admission essay is an essay or other written statement by a candidate, often a potential student enrolling in a college, university, or graduate school. You can be rest assurred that through our service we will write the best admission essay for you.
Our academic writers and editors make the necessary changes to your paper so that it is polished. We also format your document by correctly quoting the sources and creating reference lists in the formats APA, Harvard, MLA, Chicago / Turabian.
If you think your paper could be improved, you can request a review. In this case, your paper will be checked by the writer or assigned to an editor. You can use this option as many times as you see fit. This is free because we want you to be completely satisfied with the service offered.