Digital mediations of everyday humanitarianism: the case of Kiva.org

Schwittay, Anke (2019) Digital mediations of everyday humanitarianism: the case of Kiva.org. Third World Quarterly, 40 (10). pp. 1921-1938. ISSN 0143-6597

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Abstract

The proliferation of Web 2.0 platforms that aim to facilitate social action, often connected to international development or environmental sustainability, has contributed to the ongoing popularisation of development. In this article, I argue that it has resulted in the digitally-enabled constitution of everyday humanitarians, who are everyday people supportive of poverty alleviation. Kiva.org, a US-based online microlending platform that invites everyday humanitarians to make $25 loans to Kiva entrepreneurs around the world, is a prime site to study these processes. I show how Kiva cultivates supporters through the mediated production of affective investments, which are financial, social and emotional commitments to distant others. This happens through the design of an affective architecture which in turn generates financial and spatial mediations. While these result in microloans and attendant sentiments of affinity, they also lead to financial clicktivism and connections that obscures the asymmetries and riskscapes resulting from Kiva’s microlending work.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
School of Global Studies > International Development
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2019 12:03
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2019 14:15
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/85947

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