Distance breached or distance transformed? Dilemmas of simulated and banal closeness in humanitarian communication

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftAbstraktForskningpeer review


Social media have been argued to have transformed humanitarian communication and those involved in it. Networked humanitarian organizations are supposedly more open and transparent (Kanter and Fine 2010) and their “audiences” too are networked and "cause-wired" (Watson 2009), implying an unprecedented closeness (i.e., erasure of distance) between actors, institutions and causes. On the other hand, new media have been argued to contribute to a narcissistic culture (Chouliaraki 2012), beleaguered with “improper distance” (Silverstone 2006, Chouliaraki 2011). Our examination of two cases of networked humanitarianism (the global case of Kiva.org and the more local case of Kirkens Korshær) shows that networked technology does not erode distance between humanitarian actors, but rather reformats it into simulated closeness (Kiva) or banal closeness (KK), thus giving rise to several dilemmas and challenges.
StatusUdgivet - 2014
Udgivet eksterntJa