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A Focus on Community Engagement

between power and population. The cases are presented chronologically in order to align with the history of the West Africa epidemic. In the first case, Sylvain Landry B. Faye details a case from Kolobengou, Guinea, in which Ministry of Health efforts to mobilise traditional and political elites clashed with locally legitimate youth and local leaders over the distribution of Ebola-relief goods. In the second case, from Liberia, Almudena Mari Saez narrates negotiations between community

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

translators and interpreters ( O’Mathúna, forthcoming ). For example, children of migrants adapt more quickly to local languages and cultures and may be asked to translate in health, legal, and administrative contexts. Such mediation raises ethical questions as it could expose children to difficult discussions, depending on their developmental age, and could compromise the normal relationships and power dynamics within the family or community ( Antonini, 2015 ). Values of

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)
Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order

important in a world whose rules they did not write, allege that human rights and humanitarianism represent the soft-power version of Western modernity, another vector for the transmission of liberal-capitalist values and interests that threatens their hold on national power and resources. China, with its muscular conception of sovereignty and its no-questions-asked relationship with other authoritarian states, leads the way. These non-Western states can hardly be blamed for their scepticism given the degree to which humanitarians often attend crises

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

Humanitarian Action’ project (2011–15), Médecins sans Frontières’ Speaking Out initiative ( Médecins sans Frontières, n.d. ), its recently released associative history ( Médecins sans Frontières, 2018 ) and the 2015 conference on the fundamental principles in ‘a critical historical perspective’, hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Projects like these were vital in opening questions about institutional (and sectoral) memory and communities of practice

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editors’ Introduction

more broadly ( Heerten, 2017 ). In addition, seemingly altruistic technological interventions in humanitarian contexts often go alongside the expansion of state or military power and new mechanisms of surveillance and control ( Jacobsen, 2015 ). More generally, as long as major technological innovations are largely driven or developed by the Global North, they are bound to perpetuate existing global inequalities, as evident, for example, in the field of digital humanitarianism ( Roth and Luczak

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Rethinking Digital Divides by Linda Leung

articulately discusses how refugees resort to information technology to manage their current circumstances and connect back to where they come from. She contrasts the dissimilar backgrounds of the netizens and the asylum seekers: the former rely on the internet to participate actively in online communities; the latter use the internet to access information that allows them to manage their lives and communicate with their loved ones and other individuals with whom they share the experience of being displaced

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

complete fiction either. An accurate portrait is drawn in Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed , a book published by MSF-CRASH some years ago. Its authors argued that relief groups could be thought of as ‘unreliable friends’, constantly bargaining with donors (not to mention governments and insurgent groups in the countries in which they do their work). An important problem relief agencies face today, which is almost certain to grow worse in the coming decade, is that their success in negotiations can be in vain if donors don’t have the power to make

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

the hostages with greater commercial and political value, mobilisation campaigns may serve to protect their lives and pressure those with the power to facilitate their release. British journalists have noted that the lack of information and public advocacy on behalf of aid workers David Haines and Allan Henning, who were abducted in Syria by the Islamic State (IS) in 2014, did not prevent their execution. On the contrary, the silence of their

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs