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Type: Journal article
Title: National humanitarianism and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami
Author: West, B.
O'Reilly, R.
Citation: Journal of Sociology, 2016; 52(2):340-354
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Issue Date: 2016
ISSN: 1440-7833
Statement of
Brad West, Ruthie O’Reilly
Abstract: The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami elicited the largest international humanitarian response of any disaster in history, yet comparatively little research has examined the way the disaster agent and the ensuing fundraising have been culturally framed in Western societies. While scholars have speculated that the humanitarian reaction is a response related to the capturing and distribution of the disaster through digital media, this paper focuses on the discursive meaning-making of the crisis as it appeared in a single national public sphere. From an analysis of articles in major Australian newspapers, the study finds that the tsunami discourses of risk, suffering, government aid and public charity were constructed in terms of Australian symbolic boundaries and national sentiment. Existing literature on humanitarian communication provides insights into this media portrayal; however, to more fully comprehend the ways in which national discourse can mobilise populations in responding generously to global catastrophes we propose the concept of national humanitarianism.
Keywords: Humanitarianism;, national identity; ritual; cosmopolitanism
Rights: © The Author(s) 2014
DOI: 10.1177/1440783314550515
Appears in Collections:Anthropology & Development Studies publications
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