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A Model for Historical Reflection in the Humanitarian Sector

experiential learning) into informed decision-making at home and in the field? Could a more robust engagement with humanitarianism as an historical phenomenon help us to better navigate the contemporary aid environment? If so, what steps can we take to translate the lessons of the past into future policy? This article outlines the results of a pilot project conducted by Trócaire and National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway on using history as a tool for policy-making in the humanitarian sector. It begins by reflecting on the need for adaptability and responsiveness among

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Uses and Misuses of International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Principles

conflict towards total war in a collection of writings published at the end of his life, presciently entitled L’Avenir sanglant (the bloody future). We know what happened to humanitarian norms during what historian Eric Hobsbawm dubbed the ‘age of extremes’, with its colonial massacres, world wars, genocides, civil wars and concentration camps. If there was ever a time in history where there was no regard for either the principle of mercy or the value of human life, it was the ‘short twentieth century’ (1914–91) – far more than the last thirty years. The supposed

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Staff Security and Civilian Protection in the Humanitarian Sector

, F. (eds), Saving Lives and Staying Alive: Humanitarian Security in the Age of Risk Management ( London : Hurst ), pp. 82 – 6 . Egeland , J. , Harmer , A. and Stoddard , A. ( 2011 ), To Stay and Deliver: Good Practice for Humanitarians in Complex Security Environments . New York : UN OCHA . EISF . ( 2018 ), Managing the Security of Aid Workers with Diverse Profiles . London : European Interagency Security Forum . Fassin , D. ( 2012 ), Humanitarian Reason: A Moral History of the Present . Berkeley, CA : University of California Press . Fast

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editor’s Introduction

represented a final victory for Western liberal democracy – an unexpected Hegelian denouement in the knotweed of History. Their euphoria – albeit short-lived – provided the entrance music for a new ethical order, constructed by the US, with a basis in liberal humanitarian norms. Without any direct and immediate threat to its hegemony, the US merged its geostrategy with a humanitarian ethics. In 1991, after the Gulf War, the US invaded Iraq in the name of humanitarian concern. The following year, to the applause of numerous humanitarian NGOs, it led a

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

Introduction Citing the celebrated opening sentence of the Communist Manifesto may seem an odd way to begin these modest reflections on the challenges the relief world is confronting, and the graver ones it is likely to confront over the course of the next decade. But just as the spectre of communism was haunting Europe in 1848, a spectre haunts the humanitarian international in 2018 – the spectre of illegitimacy. A disclaimer is immediately necessary: if you believe that the importance of the changes that are taxing the established global order

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

two means through which Europeans made themselves the protagonists of global history. Europeans then rewrote their history, erasing the mass human suffering they had caused, promoting instead tales of white European innocence ( Wekker, 2016 ), superiority and exceptionalism. In its destruction of life, coloniality might be considered anti-humanitarian, and yet it is characteristic of the liberal humanitarianism whose end we now (prematurely) are invited to mourn. For over two decades, I have been struggling to make sense of humanitarian interventions

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

Introduction The modern global humanitarian system takes the form it does because it is underpinned by liberal world order, the post-1945 successor to the imperial world of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the global political and economic system the European empires created. Humanitarian space, as we have come to know it in the late twentieth century, is liberal space, even if many of those engaged in humanitarian action would rather not see themselves as liberals. To the extent that there is something constitutively liberal about

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design

spirit of 1970s direct humanitarian action was fabricated from a deductive process of knowledge formation framed by narratives of history, causation and reciprocity. Reflecting the rise to dominance of a cybernetic episteme, this register has been replaced by a reliance on inductive mathematical data and machine-thinking for sense-making ( Rouvroy, 2012 ). Thinking has been transformed into calculation ( Han, 2013 ). 1 The current dominance within the academy of empiricism and behaviourism reflects this change in world-experience. What is often

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

Introduction Every year, dozens of national and international aid workers are kidnapped. Like governments and companies, most humanitarian organisations handle these events with the utmost secrecy. While Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), for example, publicly confirmed the abduction and release of staff members kidnapped in Kenya in 2011 and Syria in 2014, 1 the organisation made no effort to mobilise public opinion as a way to gain their freedom. Nor did it provide any official details about the circumstances, detention conditions, kidnappers or their demands

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs