Language of power : a qualitative study of the influence of marketization on online philanthropic discourse
MetadataShow full item record
- Institutt for geografi 
The world of philanthropy has gained attention through the entry of actors such as the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. These philanthropic foundations have received attention because of both the social prominence of their founders, as well as for their approaches to philanthropic work. The emergence and influence of neoliberal thought on various parts of social life has been described as “marketization”. This process of marketization is viewed as influencing different parts of modern society, which includes philanthropy. Critics of marketization argue that this process lead to an increase of neoliberal approaches to social better- ment. This thesis examines how the process of marketization can be identified in online philan- thropic discourse, and which influences it may have. Using critical discourse analysis and multimodal analysis, the analysis examines websites belonging to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The discourses that are used on these websites are identified and analysed, with a focus on globalization, entrepreneurship, innovation and civil society. The analysis shows how certain discourses are used in order to establish and maintain social relationships, and which power relations which may be sustained through this process. As part of the analytical process it is also considered how the vari- ous texts, images and videos interact with another, and which influences on online philanthropic discourse that this interaction may have. The analysis shows that the philanthropic foundations apply certain discourses in order to strength- en their position as socially and politically influential and powerful actors. Discourses of globaliza- tion are used to frame their philanthropic activities as innovative and efficient approaches to solving social problems. The online philanthropic discourses establish an image of the foundations as providing solutions that are productive and innovative, as opposed to traditional philanthropic ap- proaches. Discourses of entrepreneurship are used to emphasise the differences between traditional and “market based” philanthropy, applying the qualities of entrepreneurship to their foundations. The discourses used by these philanthropic foundations online establish an image of both the foun- dations and their audience as active participants in civil society. Through their involvement in the foundation's social causes, the audience is described as engaging in social change, either through consumption, donations or voluntary action.