Commodifying Compassion: Implications of Turning People and Humanitarian Causes Into Marketable Things

Project: Research

Project Details


Today’s marketplace is inundated with products supporting humanitarian causes that promise to give aid to beneficiaries, provide ‘good feelings’ to consumers and promote the brands of corporations and humanitarian NGOs. The commodification of humanitarianism (turning people and causes into marketable things) is thus linked to the privatization of help (replacing public donors with private philanthropy) with significant and as of yet poorly understood consequences. Commodifying Compassion will explore these dynamics 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 overall objective of Commodifying Compassion is to understand how ‘helping’ has become a marketable commodity and how this impacts humanitarianism symbolically and materially.
AcronymCoCo Research
Effective start/end date01/01/201701/01/2021


  • Humanitarianism
  • Commodification
  • Private companies
  • Humanitarian organizations
  • Philanthropy
  • Consumption, Commoditisation, Aid, Humanitarianism, CSR, Ethics, North-South Relations,
  • Business
  • Brand aid

Research Output

  • 2 Journal article
  • 2 Net publication - Internet publication

Advocacy Narratives and Celebrity Engagement: the Case of Ben Affleck in Congo

Budabin, A. C. & Richey, L. A., 23 May 2018, In : Human Rights Quarterly. 40, 2, p. 260-286 27 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Afropolitanism, celebrity politics, and iconic imaginations of North–South relations

Richey, L. A. & Christiansen, L. B., 1 Apr 2018, In : African Affairs. 117, 464, p. 238-260 23 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Open Access

There are Better Ways to Fight Poverty than Giving Money to Corporations

Sullivan, N. & Richey, L. A., 24 May 2018

Research output: Other contributionNet publication - Internet publicationCommunication

Open Access


Richey, L. A., 15 Sep 2017

Research output: Other contributionNet publication - Internet publicationResearchpeer-review

Open Access