Commodifying Compassion: Implications of Turning People and Humanitarian Causes into Marketable Things @CoCoResearch

This is the website for a four year research project on Commodifying Compassion to understand how ‘helping’ has become a marketable commodity and how this impacts humanitarianism symbolically and materially.  An international team of researchers funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research will examine ethical consumption intended to benefit humanitarian causes from the perspectives of consumers, businesses, NGOs and recipients. This is the first project to include the cause beneficiaries’ regimes of value as an important component in understanding the ethical dilemmas of ‘helping.’  The research will produce a better understanding by humanitarian organizations and businesses leading to more ethical fundraising, donors weighing consumption-based models as part of more effective aid, and consumers making more informed choices about ‘helping’ by buying brand aid products.

Commodifying Compassion will explore the dynamics of consumption for a humanitarian cause in three different contexts where humanitarianism has been a realm traditionally dominated by the state (Denmark), the church (Italy) and the market (United States).

The project is led by Lisa Ann Richey who is Professor of International Development Studies in the Department of Social Sciences and Business at Roskilde University, Denmark. CoCo Researchers are Mette Fog Olwig, Associate Professor of International Development Studies in the Department of Social Sciences and Business at Roskilde University, Mie Vestergaard, Assistant Professor of International Development Studies in the Department of Social Sciences and Business at Roskilde University, and Alexandra Cosima Budabin, Senior Researcher at the Human Rights Center at the University of Dayton, US and Adjunct Professor at the Free University of Bolzano, Italy.