‘Africa is a national cause'. Race and nation in development aid communication—A Danish case study

This article analyses the intersection of race and nation in development aid communication by way of a case study of the annual Danish aid telethon Danmarks Indsamling (Denmark’s Collection, hereafter DI). The article reads the media campaign which surrounds DI in order to understand the specific local cultural and political function of celebrities who have ‘African roots.’ The reading focuses on how and when they are mobilised within a particular version of a Danish national narrative. These celebrity figures contribute to two interconnected local understandings of the nation. The first envisages the nation as a diverse, inclusive and outwardly caring community. The second links the Danish nation with a one-dimensionally depicted innocent and childlike ‘African Other’ in an affective economy of aid. The article concludes that these two intersecting versions of national community are held together through the performance of the celebrity Wafande Pierre Jolivel Zahor (a singer) via representations of his ‘Africanness’. By foregrounding ‘Africanness’ and simultaneously including him in the diversity of the nation he becomes located as ‘African in the past’ and ‘Danish now’. As such he functions as metonym for the promise of progress, which the development aid narrative prescribes for the ‘African Other’.

Afsender/institution/forlag:

RUC

Udgivelsesår:

2015

Kategori:

Udviklings- og hjælpearbejde

Publikationstype:

Tidsskriftartikel

Sprog:

Engelsk

Status:

Udgivet

Peer reviewed:

JA

Fuld adgang:

JA