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Open Access (free)
Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design

Introduction Drawing its energy from the wave of New Left and counter-cultural radicalism of the 1960s ( Boltanski and Chiapello, 2005 ), an NGO-led direct humanitarian action pushed onto the international stage during the 1970s. The radicalism of this new anti-establishment sans frontières humanitarianism lay in its political challenge to the conventions of Cold War sovereignty. By being there on the ground it sought to hold sovereign power to account, witnessing its excesses while professing a face-to-face humanitarian solidarity with its

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

. Eurocentrism has taught us to see the potential end of an era in every relative change in Western power. Thinking about the role of humanitarianism today requires that we don’t reproduce or unwittingly celebrate Western-led order by mourning the end of a history that never actually existed. Given past and present non-Western experiences of liberal order, we might ask: what’s there to mourn? My personal experiences of research and knowledge production regarding humanitarianism have reinforced in me an anti-colonial ethos – an intellectual opposition to

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

humanitarianism, humanity, human 73 4 Humanitarianism, 1 humanity, human A few people have a bed for the night For a night the wind is kept from them The snow meant for them falls on the roadway – Bertolt Brecht2 Brecht’s poem A Bed for the Night tells how a man stands on a street corner in New York soliciting beds for the homeless. Although this ‘won’t change the world’, it does mean ‘a few men have a bed for the night’. The reader is called upon not to ‘put the book down on reading this’, because there is more to be said. What remains to be said is the

in Change and the politics of certainty
Editor’s Introduction

, reinforcing the symbiosis between humanitarianism and the state. The sufficiency of a humanitarian minimum became justification for cuts in public expenditure, particularly as NGOs offered themselves as subcontractors for the provision of essential services at home and abroad. Western governments placed pressure on NGOs to carry out neomanagerial reforms that would promote cultural synergies with their own overseas aid departments, now reorganised according to the business imperatives of the New Public Management. And NGOs used these reforms to

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
A Model for Historical Reflection in the Humanitarian Sector

aid. At a time of great uncertainty in the world, increased instrumentalisation of humanitarianism and heightened expectations of aid actors to ‘do no harm’ as they prevent, respond to and ease suffering in times of crisis, taking a moment to reflect on various aspects of that response and to consider the humanity within humanitarian action can only be a positive step. Put simply, there is great value in asking what happened? How can we translate the considerable knowledge that has been accumulated in the humanitarian sector (from institutional memory to

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order

practicality prevents it). This is the same foundational commitment that animates human rights work. The humanist core to both of these forms of social practice is a similar kind of belief in the ultimate priority of moral claims made by human beings as human beings rather than as possessors of any markers of identity or citizenship. What differences exist between humanitarianism and human rights are largely sociological – the contextual specifics of the evolution of two different forms of social activism. I have argued elsewhere, for example, that the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
An Interview with Celso Amorim, Former Brazilian Foreign Minister

In this interview, Celso Amorim, former Brazilian foreign minister, discusses changes in global governance and their likely impact on international cooperation. He critically reflects on his experiences in positioning Brazil on the world stage and democratising human rights. And he considers whether the influence of Brazil and other Southern states is likely to continue expanding.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
An Interview with Caroline Abu Sa’Da, General Director of SOS MEDITERRANEE Suisse

citizen movements that have been at the forefront of the emergency response. Similarly inspired by cosmopolitan ideals, these groups tend to use more political language than conventional NGOs, presenting their relief activities as a form of direct resistance to nationalist politics and xenophobia. As liberal humanitarianism is challenged in its European heartland, they are developing – through practice – a new model of humanitarian engagement. SOS MEDITERRANEE is an ad hoc citizen initiative founded in 2015 to prevent the death of people crossing the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editor’s Introduction

, 4 : 4 , 453 – 74 . Fast , L. ( 2014 ), Aid in Danger: The Perils and Promise of Humanitarianism ( Philadelphia, PA : University of Pennsylvania Press ). Jackson , A. ( 2014 ), Humanitarian Negotiations with Armed Non-State Actors: Key Lessons from Afghanistan, Sudan, Somalia , Humanitarian Policy Group, Policy Brief 55 ( London : Overseas Development

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

), Humanitarianism, Communications and Change ( New York : Peter Lang ). Cottle , S. and Nolan , D. ( 2007 ), ‘ Global Humanitarianism and the Changing Aid-Media Field: Everyone Was Dying for Footage ’, Journalism Studies 8 : 6 , 862 – 78 . Curtis , H. ( 2015 ), ‘ Picturing Pain Evangelicals and the Politics of Pictorial Humanitarianism in an Imperial Age ’, in Fehrenbach , H. and Rodongo , D. (eds), Humanitarian Photography: A History ( Cambridge : Cambridge University Press ), pp

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs