MSF and the Hippocratic Approach : a single case study on communication in the conflict of South Sudan

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Uppsala universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Författare: Thomas Stahl; [2018]

Nyckelord: MSF; Hippocratic; Do No Harm; conflict; marketization;

Sammanfattning: This thesis investigates Médécins Sans Frontières (MSF) communication in the setting of South Sudan. More precisely, the thesis investigates MSF’s engagement in a discussion regarding the potential harm NGOs, both other and themselves, might cause in terms of conflict dynamics. The thesis takes off in the perceived conflict between the adaptation of the Hippocratic Approach, as outlined by Mary B Anderson, and the increased necessity of branding in today’s humanitarian industry and seeks to understand how this might unfold in practice. Demonstrating MSF’s commitment to ideals in line with the Hippocratic Approach, which encourage self-criticism and accountability, the thesis moves on to illustrate how branding has become an inevitable measure for NGOs to remain operational. Based on previous research identifying a successful branding as information, trust and image, where self-criticism might be counter-productive, the thesis tries to identify the conflict between the two fields. The thesis sets out to uncover some of the tensions more concretely by investigating MSF’s communication in the conflict-settings of South Sudan. It does so utilizing the method Qualitative Content Analysis. The material stems from MSF’s self-published reports, reviews and articles. In conclusion, the thesis finds that MSF does engage in a discussion about harms caused by other organizations as well as harm caused by themselves. However, the harms discussed are not put in terms of conflict dynamics in South Sudan. Furthermore, the thesis identifies some disproportion in criticism towards other organizations versus self-criticism. The thesis refrains from drawing any permanent conclusions and suggest a comparative case study to better understand the tensions in NGO’s building of a Hippocratic brand. 

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