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A Model for Historical Reflection in the Humanitarian Sector

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

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

The Journal of Humanitarian Affairs is an exciting, new open access journal hosted jointly by The Humanitarian Affairs Team at Save the Children UK, and Centre de Réflexion sur l’Action et les Savoirs Humanitaires MSF (Paris) and the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute at the University of Manchester. It will contribute to current thinking around humanitarian governance, policy and practice with academic rigour and political courage. The journal will challenge contributors and readers to think critically about humanitarian issues that are often approached from reductionist assumptions about what experience and evidence mean. It will cover contemporary, historical, methodological and applied subject matters and will bring together studies, debates and literature reviews. The journal will engage with these through diverse online content, including peer reviewed articles, expert interviews, policy analyses, literature reviews and ‘spotlight’ features.

Our rationale can be summed up as follows: the sector is growing and is facing severe ethical and practical challenges. The Journal of Humanitarian Affairs will provide a space for serious and inter-disciplinary academic and practitioner exchanges on pressing issues of international interest.

The journal aims to be a home and platform for leading thinkers on humanitarian affairs, a place where ideas are floated, controversies are aired and new research is published and scrutinised. Areas in which submissions will be considered include humanitarian financing, migrations and responses, the history of humanitarian aid, failed humanitarian interventions, media representations of humanitarianism, the changing landscape of humanitarianism, the response of states to foreign interventions and critical debates on concepts such as resilience or security.

Open Access (free)
Digital Bodies, Data and Gifts

‘gifting’ from beneficiaries to humanitarian actors and their partners. The article therefore offers a set of contextual framings: in Section 2, the expanding capabilities of tracking devices and their proliferation across societal domains are linked with the emergence of ‘digital beneficiary bodies’. In Section 3, to illustrate the importance of seeing wearables in the context of the humanitarian past, there is a brief account of the history of wristbands in refugee

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

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

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editors’ Introduction

about unintended consequences. Equally, there is a long history of how humanitarian endeavours have played a role in sustaining or exacerbating conflicts, where humanitarians intervened with the best moral and ethical intentions and principles but in the end were arguably pivotal in prolonging suffering, a pertinent example being the then ‘innovative’ humanitarian interventions in the secessionist war in Biafra that ended 50 years ago and has been a milestone in re-thinking humanitarian action

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

of these can and should be addressed without misguided and futile attempts to turn the aid industry into a true market. However, at some point we will have enough labs, enough grants and enough partnerships, but still we will not see any sustained returns; and unless we innovate a new financial model, then humanitarian innovation will be on life support from institutional donors indefinitely. Notes 1 In his history of humanitarianism Christopher Barnett (2013) pointed to ‘a growing

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

Security Forum . Fassin , D. ( 2012 ), Humanitarian Reason: A Moral History of the Present . Berkeley, CA : University of California Press . Fast , L. ( 2014 ), Aid in Danger: The Perils and Promise of Humanitarianism . Philadelphia, PA : University of Pennsylvania Press . Fast , L

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

. and Bloom , L. ( 2014 ), Humanitarian Innovation: The State of the Art , www.unocha.org/publication/policy-briefs-studies/humanitarian-innovation-state-art (accessed 18 October 2018) . Brun , C. ( 2016 ), ‘ There Is No Future in Humanitarianism: Emergency, Temporality and Protracted Displacement ’, History and Anthropology , 27 : 4

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs