BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Appealing children: UK audiences' responses to the use of children in humanitarian communications

    Seu, Irene Bruna (2015) Appealing children: UK audiences' responses to the use of children in humanitarian communications. International Communication Gazette 77 (7), pp. 654-667. ISSN 1748-0485.

    Full text not available from this repository.


    Empathy, vulnerability and identification play an important role in the wish to protect children who are perceived to be helpless, blameless and therefore the ideal victim. This article offers an empirically based discussion of responses to humanitarian communications depicting children. Although most participants recognized that a communication involving a child has immediate impact, overall they displayed a reflexive and critical awareness of their own propensity to automatically empathize in response, with many expressing irritation for being manipulated. The study suggests that focusing exclusively on a de-contextualized and dyadic ‘audience-victim’ relationship offers only partial insight into audiences’ responses and reactions. Instead, it is argued that the usefulness of the use of children in humanitarian communication can be properly gauged only in the context of media saturation, audiences being sophisticated and media-savvy about appeals and communications, and a general attitude of distrust and dissatisfaction with the marketization of NGOs.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): audience responses, children, humanitarian communications, ideal victims, NGOs
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Mapping Maternal Subjectivities, Identities and Ethics (MAMSIE), Gender and Sexuality, Birkbeck (BiGS), Social Research, Birkbeck Institute for (BISR)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2015 10:05
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:18


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item