Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Global Inclusion and Social Development

First Advisor

Meghan E. Kallman, Rita Kiki Edozie

Second Advisor

Sindiso Mnisi Weeks

Third Advisor

Alan J. Dettlaff, Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks


This research explores the intersection of social responsibility organizations (SROs), conscious consumerism, transracial adoption, and white saviorism. Utilizing frameworks such as white savior industrial complex (WSIC) theory and critical theory as well as Black feminist thought as a philosophical paradigm, this scholarship unveils power imbalances, contradictions, and unintended consequences within SRO practices, also shedding light on how conscious consumerism and transracial adoption allow capitalism to perpetuate exploitation and commodification. The overarching research question guiding this work is: How does white saviorism show up in various contexts and at the intersection of race and gender? ● In Chapter 2, specifically in how SROs engage: What is the impact of race and gender on social responsibility organizations (SROs)? ● In Chapter 3, within the context of conscious consumerism: What factors influence conscious consumerism, especially related to race and gender identities? ● In Chapter 4, with the backdrop of transracial adoption: What is the relationship between transracial adoption, conscious consumerism, faith, and the white savior industrial complex (WSIC)? This scholarly contribution also elucidates how SROs, conscious consumerism, and transracial adoption intersect with race, gender, and the perpetuation of the WSIC. Through interviews with 45 SRO stakeholders, the working hypothesis was confirmed – that white saviorism exists in SROs, conscious consumerism, and transracial adoptions and causes and contributes to social exclusion. By interrogating white saviorism and the white savior industrial complex (WSIC) and their relationship to race and gender this dissertation’s contribution is relevant, timely, and valuable; bringing forth novel ways to explore and understand how and why white saviorism manifests in these three contexts contributing to social exclusion. Moreover, this interview study underscores the need and importance to critically examine and address these dynamics to mitigate harmful effects and promote more equitable practices within social responsibility initiatives and beyond.


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