Baring all: self-disclosure as moral exhortation

Marion Maddox*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Although World Vision has modified its practice in response to criticism of ethical problems with the ‘one child at a time’ approach, it continues to promote itself as though nothing has changed. The shift may become apparent to donors once they have joined the organisation and become recipients of internal publications like World Vision’s Action News, but advertisements still exhort unfledged donors to join up in return for photos, progress reports and personal letters from ‘their’ child. This chapter examines the use of personal disclosure in the moral discourse of two religious organisations. The experiential disclosures of children and other ‘representative’ voices of the world’s poor and oppressed have been effective techniques to solicit charitable donations and, despite profound cultural differences, foster ethical dialogue and unite people in moral action. The chapter reveals the real-world paradox that in motivating listeners to moral action, these organisations reduce the storytellers to powerless victims.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDisclosures
EditorsPaul Corcoran, Vicki Spencer
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9780429858925, 9780429458835
ISBN (Print)9781138311473
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameRoutledge Revivals

Bibliographical note

Book first published 2000 by Ashgate Publishing; reissued 2018 by Routledge.


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