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David Rieff

European cities in which its operational centres are based, and will the International Rescue Committee move from its New York headquarters to Dakar, Jakarta or Quito? At the moment, the answer of most major relief groups is implied by their stasis: no. But some measure of devolution appears necessary if they are to retain legitimacy. The gravest political challenge NGOs face lies not in what is going on in the Global South but rather what is going on at home in the Global North, particularly in Europe. If humanitarian certainties have been upended, it

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editor’s Introduction
Michaël Neuman, Fernando Espada and Róisín Read

encountered by teams on the ground. As Champy argues ( Champy, 2018: 17 ), ‘when action is required in highly singular and complex situations, common solutions that can be automatically inferred from routines, rules or scientific knowledge, might lead to mistakes and damages. Indeed, the singularity of the situation may imply that… the situation does not allow for a high degree of certainty’. In such situations, transmission of knowledge between peers is critical. The first two articles of this issue

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Recognition, Vulnerability and the International
Kate Schick

in which we reside; it seeks also to understand the ways we come to know and the desires that underpin the philosophical journey towards comprehension (Kochi 2012 : 130). These desires are ‘often self-interested, culturally contingent and manipulative’ (Kochi 2012 : 130) and include the pursuit of security and certainty. Deeply rooted in liberal capitalist society, these desires are incompatible with Hegel

in Recognition and Global Politics
M. Anne Brown

, for the sufferer pain is a form of certainty intrinsic to being a body – which for others is transformable into a political weapon. For those who use it as a weapon pain is an assertion of domination which, because never able to be genuinely certain or secured, must be asserted again and again. As an instrument of political organisation, suffering is an obdurate reality, however unwieldy and evasive its boundaries, forms and significance can be. To draw attention to human rights practices as tools is also not to cast them as purely

in Human rights and the borders of suffering
Open Access (free)
M. Anne Brown

questions of abuse can gradually leave aside the universal-relative dichotomy. In the context of this discussion the chapter returns to some of the themes raised in Chapter 1 – the limited value of the push for certainty and the sometimes creative function of uncertainty, and the metaphor of conversation or dialogue (or multilogue, in James Tully’s term). While not quite clearing a path out of the universalist-relativist debate, a rich sense of dialogue offers at least a counterpoise or a place to start the unravelling of what seems an unnecessarily confined and too all

in Human rights and the borders of suffering
Meanings, Limits, Manifestations
Patrick Hayden and Kate Schick

consequence of the subject's desire for confirmation of its independence and self-certainty is that other subjects it encounters will resist extending recognition, because they too wish to claim their own independence. Self and other initially encounter each other as adversaries. This mutual resistance first precipitates a ‘life-and-death’ confrontation by which each self-consciousness seeks the destruction

in Recognition and Global Politics
Open Access (free)
Kerry Longhurst

uncertainty. Whereas during periods of certainty and stability a dominant ‘reading’ of the meanings of foundational elements and preferred policy modes prevails and is largely uncontested, at times of ambiguity a number of opposing readings emerge, all vying for dominance. In this context a strategic culture is finely tuned, or adjusted, to match existing core values to new situations through reworked security policy standpoints as seen through observable changes in security policies and practices. Fundamental change of a strategic culture is a far less common phenomenon. It

in Germany and the use of force
M. Anne Brown

sameness. Different relationships to land – in a sense, the crucial original difference – remain one of the more evident and disturbing encounters, particularly since the Mabo decision opened the way for Indigenous people to make claims to native title on certain categories of land. Facing the uncertainty of negotiating mutually acceptable and co-existing land uses rather than the certainty of a single unitary title has proved highly unsettling for many non-indigenous organisations and people. A choice between two options – neither of which is likely to be viable

in Human rights and the borders of suffering
Open Access (free)
Germany, the use of force and the power of strategic culture
Kerry Longhurst

culture has fundamentally changed or collapsed. A second hypothesis was that the influence of strategic culture on behaviour will depend on contextual factors. In settled times of certainty strategic culture will influence behaviour indirectly, at a distance, while in unsettled periods of greater ambivalence strategic culture will directly govern behaviour almost as an ideology. With the ending of the Cold War the impacts of strategic culture on German security policy behaviour were far more direct, with the nexus between policy and strategic culture being close. From the

in Germany and the use of force
M. Anne Brown

incomes in the state and collective sectors, especially in the cities: Were one to single out one single factor conditioning workers’ support for communist regimes, it would be the expectation of protection from insecurity, inequality and uncertainty by a strong welfare state. Deng Xiaoping gambled on being able to compensate Chinese workers with greater prosperity in exchange for any erosion of security, equality and certainty. (Wang Shaoguang 1990, in Seymour, 1993: 41) The prevailing tactic of tightening and

in Human rights and the borders of suffering