Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies



Committee Chair

Wendy Atkins-Sayre

Committee Chair Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 2

Steven Venette

Committee Member 2 Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 3

Casey Malone Maugh Funderburk

Committee Member 3 Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 4

Laura A. Stengrim

Committee Member 4 Department

Communication Studies

Committee Member 5

Lawrence A. Hosman

Committee Member 5 Department

Communication Studies


In this dissertation, I offer a theoretical lens for understanding how the Global South is imagined by the Global North. The Global South has become a popular cause that for-profit companies use in order to engage in what Samantha King terms cause-marketing. While individuals in the South are certainly helped by these campaigns, they are harmed through Northern consumers being empowered by private companies encouraging them to adopt a colonizing gaze that subjugates those in the South with adhering to stereotypes. I develop three rhetorical devices that fulfill stereotypes long-held about those who are “other.”

First, I offer the endangered child, which can be invoked with actual children or through the paternal relationship with the Global North. The device relies on the sympathy of the audience and innocence of children who escape culpability for their plight. Second, I outline the endangered woman, who the North views as a worthy investment because her industriousness will better her community. Not only does the colonizing gaze seek to control her through adherence to standards of femininity, but also through the feminization of the landscape which the North seeks to control. Third, I offer the dangerous man who encourages both an affective divestment from his suffering, while simultaneously mobilizing Northern consumers to protect his victims and become white saviors.

These rhetorical devices work together to force a response from the North because of the paternal relationship—cause-marketing campaigns ask that they consume. This strategy also exploits consumers’ need to self-actualize through consumption, according to King. These devices in cause-marketing campaigns harm those in the Global South by offering only a stereotypical view of the people in this space, reifying paternalism, not offering long-term solutions, and capturing them in a cycle of need. The Global North does not escape harm from these campaigns either since they are trapped in a cycle of consumption that is heightened by the white savior narrative. The North-South relationship continues to rely on the subjugation of those who are ostensibly being saved through the very messages that continue to harm them through a fulfillment of colonizers’ fantasies.

Included in

Rhetoric Commons