Continuities, changes and challenges

This chapter introduces the subject of humanitarianism, outlines the various constituent elements that make up the Red Cross Movement and gives an overview of the current state of scholarship on the subject. It introduces the three themes, and summarises the contributions made to these themes by the chapters brought together in the volume. Finally, it indicates avenues for future research.

in The Red Cross Movement
Myths, practices, turning points

This book offers new insights into the history of the Red Cross Movement, the world’s oldest humanitarian body originally founded in 1863 in Geneva, Switzerland. Incorporating new research, the book reimagines and re-evaluates the Red Cross as a global institutional network. It is the first book of its kind to focus on the rise of the Red Cross, and analyses the emergence of humanitarianism through a series of turning points, practices and myths. The book explores the three unique elements that make up the Red Cross Movement: the International Committee of the Red Cross; the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, formerly known as the League of Red Cross Societies (both based in Geneva); and the 191 national societies. It also coincides with the centenary of the founding of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, formed in May 1919 in the aftermath of the First World War. The book will be invaluable for students, lecturers, humanitarian workers, and those with a general interest in this highly recognizable and respected humanitarian brand. With seventeen chapters by leading scholars and researchers from Europe, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and America, the book deserves a place on the bookshelves of historians and international relations scholars interested to learn more about this unique, complex and contested organisation.

Reproducing liberal democracy

Chapter 7 explores some of the most significant characteristics of parliamentary debates on the proscription or banning of terrorist organisations. These characteristics include, we argue: a remarkably standardised and repetitive framing of proscription; the existence of a core script which is often repeated, with minor alterations, across parliamentary debates; a set of established and identifiable roles that are taken up by participants within these debates (participants who, of course, come and go with the passage of time); repeated arguments around the importance of respecting these debates and their outcomes; and – perhaps most significant of all – a predictable, seemingly near-inevitable, outcome which is known in advance to those parliamentarians present at these debates. These characteristics indicate that proscription debates should be approached not – or, at least, not only or not primarily – as a decision-making exercise in which the outcome is genuinely to be decided. Rather, as a form of contemporary political ritual that reinforces the identities of its subjects by performing that which it claims to represent: liberal democracy. Vital within this, we suggest, is the appearance of dissent amidst broader cross-party consensus on proscription's necessity and legitimacy.

in Banning them, securing us?
Open Access (free)

This chapter examines the durational live art performance bit-u-men-at-work. Created and performed as part of Performing Mobilities 2017, a city-wide festival in Melbourne, the work was the embodiment of a performance-as-research process with an agenda informed by post-human, new materialist and ecofeminist notions of material ecologies. Though the performance set out to investigate, question and possibly reconcile the abhorrent physical and cultural qualities of bitumen as a fossil fuel material, the industries invested in it and the social labour practices surrounding it, gestures of intimacy and care associated with repair emerged as significant transferable values towards developing an ethical material practice. The performance, as an artistic work, also attempted to extend theories, notions and practices of care to an earthly, exploited and assumed inert material, expanding socially driven conversations around care to ecological caring as a world-making activity. Affective labours of material care were enacted through strategies of becoming-other, intimate proximity and engrossment, seeking to cultivate ‘response-ability’ to the material other and beginning to generate a material-led aesthetics of care.

in Performing care
English corporations, Atlantic plantations and literate order, 1557–1650

This chapter revisits the problem of political communication between centre and province in early modern England, using the records of an English corporation (a chartered urban community on the Welsh border) and of a plantation (a chartered commercial settlement on the Atlantic frontier) to analyse the nature of communication through charter as an early modern political project and its implications for beliefs about order and agency on the margins of this complex political society. It argues that models drawn from the study of literacy have more value for understanding the early modern experience of authority in this type of political communication than do the structural terms of centre and province or locality. Drawing from the books written by their officers, the chapter examines a range of practical political activities in the borough of Tewkesbury during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and in the Gloucester plantation from its inception in 1642.

in Connecting centre and locality

This chapter revisits and rethinks what might appear to be a classic instance of conflict between centre and locality: Laudian attempts to implement reforms in Puritan Ipswich in the 1630s. It does so by assessing Bishop Matthew Wren’s associations with the town, and by examining the spatial politics of Laudianism, in terms of the interior of Ipswich’s churches. It also does so by exploring the issue of communication, in terms of battles over the town’s most powerful minister, Samuel Ward, as well as over the town’s pulpits, and in terms of how the town’s affairs fed into controversial Puritan pamphleteering. The aim is to use a thorough investigation of episodes and events that took place in Ipswich – not least a riot in 1636 – in order to shed light on the relationship between the spatial politics of Laudianism and the wider reform programme of the Personal Rule.

in Connecting centre and locality
Open Access (free)
Syrian displacement and care in contemporary Beirut

This chapter discusses an artistic project devised amidst conditions of transnational displacement in the Middle East, and through it reflects on the role played by care and cooperation in the politics of art making. Dima el Mabsout’s Fleeing and Forgetting (2015) addressed the transformation of urban spaces in Lebanon by new populations of Syrian refugees, and resulted in a collection of almost two hundred photographs taken of and by refugee children in Beirut. The chapter explores the photographs in order to think through the performances of care that subtended this project, and the broader questions that these pose about art and scholarship on migration. While a visual analysis of the images may celebrate their qualities as art objects, the perceptual coordinates offered by performance emphasise the social and aesthetic care that the images perform and depend upon. The chapter thus problematises a historical tendency in some performance theory to associate migration with positively valenced notions of transgression and liminality and conversely stillness with stasis and unfreedom. The chapter proposes instead to perform scholarship ‘care-fully’, in recognising struggles for continuity and interdependence within specific experiences of transnational displacement.

in Performing care

This chapter argues that the care of objects could form an important part of care ethics because the performance of the processes involved in their maintenance and repair can be an important vehicle for caring for the self and other people. Applying Fisher and Tronto’s (1990) definition of ‘caring about’ and ‘caregiving’ to processes of caring for objects, it considers how relationships with everyday objects and certain acts of domestic labour become meaningful acts of self-care. The author reflects on her arts practice with care home residents living with dementia, to explore how the everyday act of doing the laundry can be reimagined in arts sessions. She proposes that artists’ performative engagements with processes of caring for objects can have an important role to play in reimagining everyday acts and establishing new models of relational care with and for older people in institutionalised care.

in Performing care
discourse, argumentation and ritual

Chapter 3 outlines the theoretical and methodological framework for this book. It begins by making the case for moving from causal to constitutive questions in analysing the power of proscription, arguing that refocusing our attention thus entails greater reflection on proscription’s processes than outcomes. Upon this we situate our research within constructivist approaches to the political, before elaborating on our understanding of three key concepts that structure our empirical investigation: discourse, identity and political ritual.

in Banning them, securing us?

This chapter is an enquiry into the possible shape of an aesthetics of care drawn from the experience of looking after a Congolese colleague after he was injured in a massacre in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The mix of different professional and personal circumstances directs the writing towards concerns with the ethics and aesthetics of caring for others and how these relationships might provide a productive orientation for work in the field of community-based performance or applied theatre. The chapter explores debates within feminist care ethics to argue that the relations that emerge in many arts projects can be understood as forms of affective solidarity and mutual regard that, in turn, could be powerful counterweights to the exclusions and disregard in a careless society.

in Performing care