‘Ordinary people like myself’: Character work and modesty in the Refugees Welcome movement
This article uses discourse analysis to investigate how British volunteers involved in the Refugees Welcome movement give an account of their engagement and of the changes that they aim to achieve through their actions. Focusing on the different ways participants ‘do modesty’ when they present their actions and their own role within the movement, we show that ‘character work’–their effort to shape their own reputation–is an essential feature of their discourse. In particular, we show that, by presenting themselves as 'modest' and 'ordinary' participants, they aim to display a character that is distinct from the heroic figure of the social activist and the humanitarian actor. In so doing, they construct a character that resists categorisations and an engagement which aims to appeal to universal values and emotions.
Exploring the frames of altruistic action. A comparative analysis of volunteers' engagement in British and French pro-asylum charities
Economic and Social Research CouncilFind out more...
Author affiliationSchool of media, Communication and Sociology, University of Leicester
- VoR (Version of Record)