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A Focus on Community Engagement

state without roots in society. The civil war (1991–2002) was the culmination of decades of alienation and socio-economic exclusion, and rebel factions directed their anger at representatives of the ‘rotten system’, including chiefs, as symbols of abuses of power and the marginalisation of youth ( Peters, 2011 ; Richards, 1996 ). Questions of legitimacy resurfaced after the war as heated debates emerged around the reconstitution of the chieftaincy. Despite pre-war abuses, populations nevertheless perceived chiefs and customary law as closer to communities than

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
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

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. Equally significantly, they grew in tandem with a rich vein of historical research. Michael Barnett’s Empire of Humanity (2011) broke new ground, and it was followed by diverse new histories of humanitarianism, the development of new partnerships between NGOs and the writing of new

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

political issue, which runs the risk of raising the stakes. On the other hand, by endowing 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 organisation and the media may have

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

resonated favourably both in the halls of power and in public opinion, and imperial France seemed particularly open to it. The first president of the new humanitarian society was a former officer in Napoleon III’s army: Swiss general Guillaume-Henri Dufour. This serves as a reminder that the laws of war ( jus in bello ) are first and foremost the business of the belligerents – the political powers – and that the terms of humanitarian conventions have always been negotiated by plenipotentiaries and generals from the signatory states. Such laws are not just the work of

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

can take. It then considers the impact of this disinformation on humanitarian crises, identifying a number of cases where it has caused real harm for those affected by disaster. Even more troubling, perhaps, is the impact it may have on audiences in the long term and their willingness to trust the news media when it provides important information or holds those with power to account. The article finishes by examining the groups that are producing disinformation about humanitarian crisis and asking what can be done. F*** News and Disinformation In 2017

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Community–university research partnerships in global perspectives

This book is based on a three-year international comparative study on poverty reduction and sustainability strategies . It provides evidence from twenty case studies around the world on the power and potential of community and higher education based scholars and activists working together in the co-creation of transformative knowledge. Opening with a theoretical overview of knowledge, democracy and action, the book is followed by analytical chapters providing lessons learned and capacity building, and on the theory and practice of community university research partnerships. It also includes lessons on models of evaluation, approaches to measuring the impact and an agenda for future research and policy recommendations. The book overviews the concept of engaged scholarship and then moves to focus on community-university research partnerships. It is based on a global empirical study of the role of community-university research partnerships within the context of poverty alleviation, the creation of sustainable societies and, broadly speaking, the Millennium Development Goals. The book frames the contribution of community-university research partnerships within a larger knowledge democracy framework, linking this practice to other spaces of knowledge democracy. These include the open access movement, new acceptance of the methods of community-based and participatory research and the call for cognitive justice or the need for epistemologies of the Global South. It takes a particular look at the variety of structures that have been created in the various universities and civil society research organizations to facilitate and enhance research partnerships.