A Model for Historical Reflection in the Humanitarian Sector
Kevin O’Sullivan and Réiseal Ní Chéilleachair
aid. At a time of great uncertainty in the world, increased instrumentalisation of humanitarianism and heightened expectations of aid actors to ‘do no harm’ as they prevent, respond to and ease suffering in times of crisis, taking a moment to reflect on various aspects of that response and to consider the humanity within humanitarian action can only be a positive step. Put simply, there is great value in asking what happened? How can we translate the considerable knowledge that has been accumulated in the humanitarian sector (from institutional memory to
Uses and Misuses of International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Principles
formalised as such, the treatment of POWs had become a key political issue with the rise of mass military mobilisations ( Farré, 2014 ). In the memory of the humanitarian movement, the Battle of Solferino stands as the inaugural event leading to the adoption of the first diplomatic treaty with humanitarian aims. A Franco-Sardinian coalition led by Napoleon III was fighting the Austrian army led by Emperor Franz Joseph. It was outside Solferino, a small town in northern Italy, that one of the bloodiest battles since the end of the Napoleonic Wars was fought in 1859, leaving
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
Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space explores how street theatre transforms industrial space into postindustrial space. Deindustrializing communities have increasingly turned to cultural projects to commemorate industrial heritage while simultaneously generating surplus value and jobs in a changing economy. Through analysis of French street theatre companies working out of converted industrial sites, this book reveals how theatre and performance more generally participate in and make historical sense of ongoing urban and economic change. The book argues, firstly, that deindustrialization and redevelopment rely on the spatial and temporal logics of theatre and performance. Redevelopment requires theatrical events and performative acts that revise, resituate, and re-embody particular pasts. The book proposes working memory as a central metaphor for these processes. The book argues, secondly, that in contemporary France street theatre has emerged as working memory's privileged artistic form. If the transition from industrial to postindustrial space relies on theatrical logics, those logics will manifest differently depending on geographic context. The book links the proliferation of street theatre in France since the 1970s to the crisis in Fordist-Taylorist modernity. How have street theatre companies converted spaces of manufacturing into spaces of theatrical production? How do these companies (with municipal governments and developers) connect their work to the work that occurred in these spaces in the past? How do those connections manifest in theatrical events, and how do such events give shape and meaning to redevelopment? Street theatre’s function is both economic and historiographic. It makes the past intelligible as past and useful to the present.
Sauver l’usine, c’est sauver la mémoire ouvrière de ce quartier, se rappeler
que ce quartier est un quartier ouvrier, que ce n’est pas rien, que les ouvriers existent, sont encore là, même si on voudrait parfois nous faire croire
qu’ils ont disparu. […] Quoi faire de cette histoire pour ceux qui sont là,
aujourd’hui, que cela leur serve, qu’ils puissent s’appuyer dessus?
To save the factory is to save the working-class memory of this neighbourhood, to recall that this neighbourhood is a working-class neighbourhood,
that it isn
memorial to the dead:
She imagined a room, a perfectly square room. Three of its walls, unbroken by windows, would be covered by neat rows of names, over three
thousand of them; and the fourth wall would be nothing but a window.
The whole structure would be built where the horizon was low, the sky
huge. It would be a place which afforded dignity to memory, where you
could bring your anger, as well as your grief.6
Cate’s imagined memorial combines the functions of remembrance
and catharsis, providing a space for the working out of anger, pain and
conflict rather than
observe how a theatre company engages with a working-class, industrial neighbourhood immediately before and during redevelopment.
PlayRec and SPP restage the excavation of the industrial past.
Archaeologists recognize excavation as both destructive and creative.
Anxiety about the destructive nature of archaeological work pervaded
the field’s scholarly discourse throughout the twentieth century.
Archaeologist Gavin Lucas identifies ‘a critical paradox of intrusive
fieldwork, that in order to understand something, we have to destroy
Tracing relatedness and diversity in the Albanian–Montenegrin borderland
Benhabib, Seyla (2002) The Claims of Culture: Equality and Diversity in the Global Era.
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Blumi, Isa (2003) ‘Contesting the edges of the Ottoman Empire: rethinking ethnic and
sectarian boundaries in the Malësore 1878–1912’, International Journal for Middle East
Studies, 35: 237–256.
Bougarel Xavier, Elissa Helms and Ger Duijzings (eds) (2007) The New Bosnian Mosaic:
Identities, Memories and Moral Claims in a Post-War Society. London: Ashgate.
Bushati, Hamdi (1998) Shkodra dhe Motet: Traditë, Ngjarje, Njerëz (Velimi I) [Shkodra and
fundamental cultural gist – ‘you must remember this . .
Susannah Radstone, ‘Working With Memory: An
Introduction’, in Susannah Radstone (ed.) Memory and
Methodology (Oxford: Berg, 2000), pp. 1–22.
Popular Memory Group, ‘Popular Memory: Theory
The ethics and politics of memory in an age of mass culture
Memory is not commonly imagined as a
site of possibility for progressive politics. More often, memory,
particularly in the form of nostalgia, is condemned for its solipsistic
nature, for its tendency to draw people into the past instead of the
present. This is the case, for example, in Kathryn Bigelow’s 1995
film Strange Days , in which the use of memory – usually