"Heroin Baby": Barnardo's, Benevolence and Shame
Place of Publication
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communications and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications
This article investigates the iconic/indexical relations between photograph and referent in 19th- and 20th-century fund-raising campaigns by the children's charity Barnardo's. Dr. Barnardo's strategies to secure donations evolved out of the 18th-century practices to display charity children in public spectacles. Such benevolent entreaties function as speech acts, deploying the challenge “I dare you to help,” backed up with “Shame on you for not responding.” The article argues that public images (i.e., the 1999 campaign image of an infant preparing to inject heroin) may instigate the shame affect as theorized by S. Tomkins and E. K. Sedgwick. Indeed, this nexus of critical theory can help us to understand the resistance to benevolence as within the parameters of the shame-humiliation-anger response. The objective is to investigate how photographs have a determining influence in shaping how we view human crises and ultimately how we evaluate these conflicts
Ash, S. (2008). “Heroin Baby” Barnardo's, Benevolence, and Shame. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 32(2), 179-200.