Danish Institutional Context Database
This case study explored the institutional framework of Danish contemporary aid, within a context traditionally dominated by the state. Through the study of the partnerships of the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the case study shows how the Danish Government has encouraged civil society to engage in joint ventures with the business sector and describe a spectrum of humanitarian and development initiatives with private business. Together these trends and initiatives have resulted in a Danish institutional framework that, we find, strongly supports and promotes the involvement of business in the development sector.
Find the database used for this study as well as relevant publications below.
Mette Fog Olwig co-investigator in the research project Commodifying Compassion: Implications of Turning People and Humanitarian Causes into Marketable Things and Associate Professor at the Department of Social Sciences and Business at Roskilde University, Denmark. Her current research focuses on business incentives and rationalities behind corporate engagement in humanitarianism, how businesses balance ethical, branding and marketing components and how for-profit do-good narratives differ from the do-good narratives of the nonprofit sector. She holds a PhD in Geography and has published on development and environmental narratives and discourse, humanitarian communication and branding, the social and physical dimensions of climate change and natural disasters and the inner workings of international development corporations. Her work has appeared in journals such as Science, Applied Geography and Geoforum.
Mie Vestergaard is a co-investigator in the Commodifying Compassion project in 2017-2018 as a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Social Sciences and Business at Roskilde University (RUC). Mie holds a PhD in International Development Studies from RUC. Currently Mie is the Advisor to the International Management of Danish Red Cross.
Julie Andersen Schou holds a Master’s degree in Anthropology from University of Copenhagen. As a Research Assistant at the Department of Management, Society and Communication of Copenhagen Business School, she has contributed to the research project Commodifying Compassion with a special focus on collaborations between NGOs and businesses in Denmark. Currently, she is the fundraiser for Kirkens Korshærs, a Danish church-based aid organization.
To cite this database:
Mette Fog Olwig; Lisa Ann Richey; Mie Vestergaard, 2023, "Commodifying Compassion: Danish Institutional Context Database", https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/ASF8KB, Harvard Dataverse, V1, UNF:6:ZvQS+5zixYbFOSgz8Np3Tg== [fileUNF]
Related publications and presentations
Olwig, M. F., & Schou, J. A. (2020)
(CBDS Working Paper No. 2020/1)
In recent years publicly funded development and humanitarian aid is being reduced, while the private sector is increasingly being considered a key development actor. This working paper provides an overview of the institutional framework that currently influences these processes in Denmark. We find that in Denmark, this new approach to aid has taken place in the context of a significant change in the Danish national narrative concerning engagement in aid. Whereas the narrative formerly emphasized the importance of selfless global solidarity it has now opened up for approaches that are overtly strategic and self-interested in relation to safety, values, and business interests. While business has always been part of development, the change in narrative has further legitimized combining profit and development. We show how the Danish Government has encouraged civil society to engage in joint ventures with the business sector and describe a spectrum of humanitarian and development initiatives with private business. Together these trends and initiatives have resulted in a Danish institutional framework that, we find, strongly supports and promotes the involvement of business in the development sector. This will have important implications for the scope and agenda of development, as well as for standards for accountability and measurement of results, that need to be further studied.