Chapter 2 sets the scene of the three different areas in Greater Manchester
of the study. It describes the areas which have distinct demographic makeup
and also different profiles in terms of reputation and, as we explore,
residential mobility. It also describes the methodology of the study. One of
the distinctive features of this book on school choice is the located nature
of the study. Interviewees talk about places and schools which we have
reliable knowledge of, including the demographic makeup of the schools. This
enables us to understand how those places are imagined and lived in and how
the schools are understood in the broader ‘tactics’ (De Certeau 1984) of
living in places. The chapter shows that, when parents talked about the
areas in which they lived, issues of race and class were dealt with quite
differently in the three areas, suggesting different discourses that
circulated about these social categories in the contrasting locations. The
chapter also shows the varied ways in which ‘elective belonging’ (Savage et
al. 2005) can work.
This chapter introduces the book, exploring how the process of school choice
enables the examination of how parents imagine themselves, their children
and others in relational space and involves navigating ideas of social
differences, particularly those which are raced and classed. It also
examines how school choice is an emotional process and traces understandings
of affect in relationship to race and class. It also examines the role of
the state education system in producing inequalities.
This chapter explores some of the emotions stirred up in the process of
choosing schools. It examines how much of parents’ talk in these areas about
school choice, and in particular what they are most worried about, is
structured by ideas of class and also race, even when these are not
mentioned directly. It argues that undesirable schools are often
characterised by their pupils in ways which suggest processes of othering.
The school is assessed in part through the ways in which the children dress
and behave – or sometimes how the parents behave. Thus the chapter explores
how judgements made about schools are gendered, raced and classed. In these
accounts, class is particularly prominent in shaping parents’ fears.
This chapter charts the rise of notions of consumer choice in the field of
state education and its relationship to the changing structures of school
provision. It considers how a shift towards the ‘choosing parent’ can
maintain inequalities of race and class. It also addresses gaps in
Bourdieusian approaches to education, particularly focusing on how
racialised processes have frequently been sidelined in this literature. In
considering the literature on school choice, this chapter also points to
gaps in the literature, which has historically largely focused on white
middle-class parents and children. Finally, it explores the importance of
understanding schools as located in particular places – enabling an
exploration of spatial processes of school choice. It will examine how ideas
such as territorialisation and stigmatisation of space can interact with
processes of school choice.
Staff Security and Civilian Protection in the Humanitarian Sector
In 2015, Action Contre la Faim launched a campaign calling on the UN to create a new post, that of a Special Rapporteur for the protection of humanitarian aid workers. Critics of the proposal claimed, inter alia, that creating such a post would imply that aid workers were a special category of civilians, worthy of protection over and above that accorded the wider population in the contexts in which they work.1 This raises an important issue which runs deeper than the campaign for a Special Rapporteur. The present article argues that, with or without such a post, the current situation is one in which humanitarian agencies treat aid workers as distinct and separate from the wider civilian population, and take significantly different measures for the safety of their staff from those they take for other civilians. For the most part, the distinction and associated differences are uncritically accepted, and this article sets out to challenge such acceptance by highlighting the nature of the differences, assessing possible explanations for the underlying distinction and considering its implications. Through this analysis, the article argues that this distinction not only reflects but also reinforces an unequal valuing of lives internationally.
A security advisor for Médecins du Monde France between 2012 and 2016, Emmanuelle Strub recalls her experience and some of the major shifts in risk management in the NGO sector in recent years. In particular, at a time of global normalisation of the aid sector, she describes her own efforts to streamline security management in her organisation: empowering field teams and, in particular, heads of mission, emphasising the crucial role of obtaining consent from the various stakeholders in the countries of intervention, and developing security trainings, crisis-management tools and a risk-management methodology. Yet, she warns, the trend today, with the advent of the duty-of-care concept, is to shift the use of risk management from enabling operations and facilitating access to populations to protecting the organisation from legal or reputational risks.
This article discusses the policy of absolute secrecy on abductions adopted by aid organisations. It argues that the information blackout on past and current cases is to a large extent a function of the growing role of private security companies in the aid sector, which promote a ‘pay, don’t say’ policy as a default option, whatever the situation. The article contends that secrecy is as much an impediment to resolving current cases as it is to preventing and managing future ones. It suggests abandoning the policy of strict confidentiality in all circumstances – a policy that is as dangerous as it is easy to apply – in favour of a more nuanced and challenging approach determining how much to publicise ongoing and past cases for each audience, always keeping in mind the interests of current and potential hostages.
Uses and Misuses of International Humanitarian Law and Humanitarian Principles
The rehabilitation of international humanitarian law (IHL) has become a priority for those who think that the horrors of contemporary wars are largely due to the blurring of the distinction between civilians and combatants and for those who think that campaigning for the respect of IHL could result in more civilised wars. Similarly, respect for humanitarian principles is still seen by many as the best tool available to protect the safety of aid workers. In this text, I argue that both assumptions are misled. The distinction between civilians and combatants, a cornerstone of IHL, has been blurred in practice since the late nineteenth century. In addition, humanitarian agencies claiming to be ‘principled’ have been victims of attacks as much as others. History and current practice tell us that neither IHL nor humanitarian principles provide safety or can guide our decisions. Accepting their symbolic value, rather than their unrealised potential to protect and solve operational dilemmas, would free humanitarian agencies from endless speculations.
A Model for Historical Reflection in the Humanitarian Sector
Kevin O’Sullivan and Réiseal Ní Chéilleachair
This article describes the results of a pilot project on using historical reflection as a tool for policy-making in the humanitarian sector. It begins by establishing the rationale for integrating reflection into humanitarian practice. It then looks at the growing interest in humanitarian history among practitioners and academics over the past decade and sets out the arguments for why a more formalised discussion about humanitarianism’s past could result in a better understanding of the contemporary aid environment. The main body of the article focuses on our efforts to translate that potential into practice, through a reflective workshop on Somalia since the 1990s, held at National University of Ireland, Galway, in June 2017. Drawing on our experience of that event, the article puts forward four principles on which a workable model of reflective practice might be developed: the importance of the workshop setting, how to organise the reflective process, the value of pursuing a single case study and the careful management of expectations and outcomes. This article is not intended to be prescriptive, however. Rather, our aim is to put forward some practical suggestions and to open a conversation about how a model of historical reflection for aid practitioners might be developed.