Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Pity and Pathos in UK Development Campaign Advertising

24 October 2013 | 4:00pm - 5:30pm | Seminar

LG 19 Michael Sadler Building

Pity and Pathos in UK Development Campaign Advertising

In recent years there have been increasing levels of UK public disengagement with global poverty.  Several studies have highlighted the negative framing used in development NGOs’ campaigns, particularly images of suffering, as leading to desensitization and subsequent disengagement on the part of the public. In this article, we assert that the problem of public apathy rests on deeper theoretical underpinnings, which are antecedent to the frame employed.  We attempt to build theoretical foundations that explain the decreased levels of public support.  To lay the theoretical framework, we draw on contemporary development literature, the history of political thought and sentimentalist theories. From these, we establish two theoretical principles, pity and pathos, by which suffering is displayed in development campaigns.  To provide empirical support, we analyse two recent campaign videos, which serve as illustrative cases.  Ultimately, we argue that appeals to pathos, rather than pity, may serve to remedy the steep decline in public engagement with issues of global poverty.

PhD and MA researchers are particularly encouraged to attend.

There will also be the opportunity to network after the event.

Location Details

LG 19, Michael Sadler Building (this is number 78 on the campus map)

How to get to the University.

There is limited car-parking available on campus at a charge of £5.00.

Parking spaces are available on campus for blue badge holders. Please contact 0113 343 5491 or carparking@leeds.ac.uk for further details.

© Copyright Leeds 2016