Ribbon Culture: Charity, Compassion and Public Awareness

Paperback | April 15, 2010

bySarah E. H. Moore

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Since its emergence in 1991, the awareness ribbon has achieved the kind of cultural status usually reserved for big brand icons and religious symbols; yet its meaningfulness as a symbol is often questioned by activists and media commentators. Certainly, showing awareness is not as straightforward a social practice as it might at first seem. The ribbon is, for example, both a kitsch fashion accessory as well as an emblem that expresses empathy; it is a symbol that represents awareness, yet requires no knowledge of the cause it represents; it appears to signal concern for others, but in fact prioritizes self-expression. Ribbon Culture explores ambiguities surrounding these ribbons, the nature of contemporary mourning practices, the sociology of compassion, the marketing discourses of charities and the relationship between awareness and consumerism.

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Since its emergence in 1991, the awareness ribbon has achieved the kind of cultural status usually reserved for big brand icons and religious symbols; yet its meaningfulness as a symbol is often questioned by activists and media commentators. Certainly, showing awareness is not as straightforward a social practice as it might at first ...

SARAH E.H. MOORE is a lecturer in Sociology and Criminology at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.  Her research interests lie in the sociology of compassion, risk culture and health.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:200 pages, 8.53 × 5.47 × 0.47 inPublished:April 15, 2010Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:023024789X

ISBN - 13:9780230247895

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Table of Contents

Introduction * Ribbon-Wearing: Towards a Theoretical Framework * Flags and Poppies: Charity Tokens of the Early Twentieth Century * Ribbon Histories * Symbolic Uses of the Ribbon * 'Showing Awareness' and the 1960s Counter-Culture: Breaking Rules and Finding the Self * Worry as a Manifestation of Awareness: The Implications of 'Thinking Pink' * The Commercialisation of Charity and the Commodification of Compassion * Conclusion

Editorial Reviews

"This is an easy-to-read book that is well signposted and that offers interesting data to support the key points. It will appeal to many subdisciplines within sociology and I will be adding it to my reading lists for undergraduate students." - Sue Child, Times Higher Education Supplement "...a brilliant little book...Moore does a great job of exposing the orthodoxy of 'awareness' for what it really is; challenging the sickness of our ribbon culture requires that we think beyond the pink to care about something less selfish instead." - Jennie Bristow, Spiked Review of Books "...a fascinating, exceedingly well-researched new book by British scholar Sarah E.H. Moore...We all want to support worthy causes, but after reading Ribbon Culture, you may conclude that discretion looks like the better part of virtue as well as of valor." - www.veryshortlist.com "…this is an interesting and well-written book on a topic of current interest, that adds both to the sociological literature on compassion and, in its own way, to that on material culture." – Alan Radley, British Journal of Sociology "Ribbon Culture analyses in detail the cultural phenomenon of the awareness ribbon (and the related phenomenon of empathy wristbands) and draws some very interesting conclusions, not the least of which is that such adornments, while seeming to express solidarity, may actually end up undermining it." - Australian Literary Review