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-year undergraduate students reading International Development Studies and International Relations at the University of Portsmouth. My module on ‘Rethinking Aid and Development’ explores the implications of decolonial engagement with ideas and practices of international solidarity. Students have said: ‘We should be assigned readings like this from year one.’ So I ask the question here: ‘What if we were to start our humanitarian conversation with Sabaratnam?’ Of course, other works have questioned the value of international intervention. But it is necessary to

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
An Interview with Celso Amorim, Former Brazilian Foreign Minister

former president should be allowed to run in the forthcoming election. ‘We have conditions to do great things,’ he said to me when we met, ‘but of course we need a legitimate government.’ It is far from clear that the election, only weeks away, can deliver this. Juliano Fiori: You first served as Brazilian foreign minister in the early 1990s. Between then and now, what has been the principal change in the conduct of international relations? Celso Amorim: For me, the most important change to note is that, for the first time in modern history, the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

the myth of Babel. 3 Set in an imaginary context, it describes a universal ‘syndrome’ of the struggle for power. It is suggestive for those who seek to explain recent changes in international relations and in the security strategy of the US. According to the myth of the Tower of Babel, humanity, after the Great Flood, was united and spoke just one language and had just one system of values. It sought to build a tower to reach heaven. But God, taking this as a challenge to his exclusive authority, divided humanity, scattering people and giving each

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
A Focus on Community Engagement

Introduction During the 2014 West African Ebola epidemic, an estimated US$ 10 billion was spent to contain the disease in the region and globally. The response brought together multilateral agencies, bilateral partnerships, private enterprises and foundations, local governments and communities. Social mobilisation efforts were pivotal components of the response architecture ( Gillespie et al. , 2016 ; Laverack and Manoncourt, 2015 ; Oxfam International, 2015 ). They relied on grassroots

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

disillusioned with the truncated horizons of the New Left and resigned to the triumph, for a generation or two, of welfare capitalism ( Meiksins Wood, 1995 ). Before this, global humanitarianism had been a largely religious exercise, an extension of Christian ministry ( Barnett, 2011 ), while human rights barely registered on the world stage ( Moyn, 2010 ). From the 1970s on, the humanist international became a place where disillusioned rebels could continue to work, albeit in a new idiom, for those who suffered. They ceased working to any great extent on their

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
From the Global to the Local

, Humanitarianism and Development: Views from the Caribbean, North Africa and the Middle East ( Oxford : Routledge ). Fiddian-Qasmiyeh , E. ( 2016a ), ‘ Repressentations of Displacement in the Middle East ’, Public Culture , 28 : 3 , 457 – 73 , doi: 10.1215/08992363-3511586 . Fiddian-Qasmiyeh , E. ( 2016b ), ‘ Refugee–Refugee Relations in Contexts of Overlapping Displacement ’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research , www.ijurr.org/spotlight-on-overview/spotlight-urban-refugee-crisis/refugee-refugee-relations

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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
Open Access (free)
Digital Bodies, Data and Gifts

history of specific, local interventions and the legacies of institutional policies and practices ( Sandvik, 2012 ). The humanitarian sector has long used wristbands to control and care for beneficiaries. This postcolonial past still shapes and limits what a wearable can be and do ( Rottenburg, 2009 ). In what follows, I use examples from the areas of refugee management and nutrition to illustrate this point. A key objective of international refugee management is to reduce fraud, one type of

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Interpreting Violence on Healthcare in the Early Stage of the South Sudanese Civil War

quantitative studies offer little interpretation of violent incidents other than to say that they demonstrate a lack of respect for international humanitarian norms that require belligerents to protect and facilitate the provision of healthcare to the sick and wounded. They tend to reinforce the assumption, widely held among the aid community, that violence on health facilities and personnel is primarily, if not exclusively, motivated by belligerents’ intent to deprive their enemy

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs