marginalised ( Redfield, 2012 ).
Here, we employ a review of security manuals, 6 aid worker chat groups, 7 interviews with aid workers 8 and our own experiences to explore how
colonialist notions of ‘stranger danger’ play out in aid security.
Thus, while people of diverse genders, racialisations, sexualities and
(dis)abilities participate in aid in many ways ( Fassin, 2013 ; Malkki, 2015 ;
Redfield, 2012 ; Vaux, 2001 ), we argue that humanitarianism remains very
Dispelling Misconceptions about Sexual Violence against Men and Boys in
Conflict and Displacement
Heleen Touquet, Sarah Chynoweth, Sarah Martin, Chen Reis, Henri Myrttinen, Philipp Schulz, Lewis Turner, and David Duriesmith
Schulz and Touquet, 2020 ).
While sexual violence in conflict and displacement is sometimes used to terrorise the
victim, community or population at large, it may also be employed to garner popular
support. This is particularly the case for sexual and other forms of gendered
violence against those perceived as ‘undesirables’ or whose sexuality
‘must’ be policed by the society or community in question. This may
include queer and trans persons as well as alleged drug traffickers
71 countries registering a reduction in political rights and civil
liberties ( Freedom House, 2018 ).
All of which puts the viability of global liberal institutions increasingly in doubt. This idea
of a protected place where, regardless of one’s identity (ethnicity, nationality,
religion, gender, sexuality, but also whether or not one is a dissident), one’s basic
rights are secure is constitutively liberal. As fewer and fewer governments, and more and more
people, view the existence of such a sanctuary within society as fanciful, illegitimate and
programmes and initiatives that claim to help and empower women.
This issue offers a rich contribution to our understanding of humanitarianism and the
ways in which it is structured by gendered logics and power relations, as well as
exploring how those gendered logics intersect with other power hierarchies, such as race
and sexuality. Elsewhere, feminist and gender-focused approaches to studying
humanitarianism have helped us better understand aspects of the sector, such as the
gendered concept of ‘care
Gender Equality and Culture in Humanitarian Action
Ricardo Fal-Dutra Santos
patriarchal binary approach to gender and
sexuality’ ( Fal-Dutra Santos,
2019 ). Gender-transformative action refers to efforts to challenge the norms
that underpin gender inequalities.
‘Culture’ is defined as the social heritage, behaviour, values, habits,
ideas and/or symbols, among other factors ( Kroeber and Kluckhohn, 1952 ) that characterise a social group. Despite
the plurality of definitions of culture, it is generally agreed that gender (and
The Politics of ‘Proximity’ and Performing Humanitarianism in Eastern DRC
, O. and Fox , R. C. ( 2008 ), ‘“Nationals” and “Expatriates”: Challenges of Fulfilling “Sans Frontières” (“Without Borders”) Ideals in International Humanitarian Action’ , Health and Human Rights , 10 : 1 , 109 – 22 .
Stoler , A. L. ( 1995 ), Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things ( Durham, NC : Duke University Press ).
Stoler , A. L. ( 2016 ), Duress: Imperial Durabilities in Our Times ( Durham, NC : Duke University Press ).
Verweijen , J. ( 2016 ), Stable Instability: Political
Staff Security and Civilian Protection in the Humanitarian
nationality and sexuality ( EISF,
2018 ). In some cases, as in the bombings of ICRC and UN headquarters in
Iraq in 2003, aid agencies and their staff are specifically targeted, and this
could explain singling staff out from the rest of the civilian population on a
case-by-case basis. However, it is not evident that the category of
‘staff’ is always and everywhere subject to a more distinct set of
threats and vulnerabilities than other categories of
. As a
result, strategic arguments have permeated the personal arena of
sexuality, fertility and reproduction. The notion of strategic
superiority maintains that soldiers must defend borders, while the Bible
gives the cardinal commandment ‘Be fruitful and multiply’
(Genesis 1:28). The synthesis of religious and strategic arguments over
land renders national security synonymous with the need to
subordinate classes with what Nzongola-Ntalaja names as
the working class (both skilled and unskilled) and the peasantry (1983: 58–9);9
and with what Barrington Moore calls ‘lower classes’, ‘those with little or no
property, income, education, power, authority, or prestige’ (1978: 35 and xiii).
The concept of subordinate/non-elite is complex and contingent. It is intersected
by the different kinds of subordination that cut across economic, social and
political relations including class, gender, ethnic group, race, age, sexuality and
physical ability. In the context of