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Conceptual change in modernity

4 Turning friendship into a moral prescription: conceptual change in modernity The debate over the state of nature Thomas Hobbes and the hostile state of nature To understand further changes in the use of friendship in juridical and political treatises, we have to turn to a crucial theoretical intervention associated with the works of Thomas Hobbes from the mid seventeenth century. If the club of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century intellectual authorities on the law of nations and nature included Gentili, Belli, Grotius and Bodin, then starting from Richard

in Friendship among nations
Catholic human rights discourse in Northern Ireland in the 1980s

7 ‘A serious moral question to be properly understood’:1 Catholic human rights discourse in Northern Ireland in the 1980s Maria Power The protection and promotion of human rights has been and remains an issue of concern to many in the field of International Relations (IR). Liberals have long recognised the rights of individuals and contested the absolute sovereignty of the state if it violates the rights of individuals or groups in cases of genocide or ethnic cleansing. Liberal scholars have focused on the important role of international organisations in

in Theories of International Relations and Northern Ireland

has been greatly exaggerated, then you will doubt that those changes are likely to pose any existential challenge to the humanitarian international, be it in terms of the efficacy of what relief groups do in the field or in terms of the political and moral legitimacy they can aspire to enjoy. But if, on the contrary, you believe that we are living in the last days of a doomed system – established in the aftermath of World War II and dominated by the US – then the humanitarian international is no more likely to survive (or to put the matter more

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Humanitarianism in a Post-Liberal World Order

a majority of humanitarian practitioners, we can define it as a commitment to three things: the equal moral worth of all human lives (i.e. non-discrimination on principle), the moral priority of the claims of individuals over the authority claims of any collective entity – from nations to churches to classes to families – and a belief that as a moral commitment (one that transcends any sociological or political boundary) there is a just and legitimate reason to intervene in any and all circumstances where human beings suffer (even if

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
Editor’s Introduction

dubbed ‘humanitarian exceptionalism’, the idea that aid workers should be protected at all times and in all places by virtue of the uniqueness of their function and moral standing. In the same year, arguably the apex of the heroisation of humanitarian workers, the UN launched the #HumanitarianHero campaign on 19 August to celebrate World Humanitarian Day ( Neuman, 2017 ). MSF published a multi-author review of its experience in risk management in 2016 ( Neuman and Weissman, 2016 ). In particular, the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
A Model for Historical Reflection in the Humanitarian Sector

difficulties faced by those seeking refuge. Those remarks, of course, were hardly unusual. Quite apart from Trump’s aptitude for fomenting societal division, politicians (of all stripes) have for centuries done battle over what Caroline Shaw called ‘the moral possibilities and conundrums that remain so familiar to the “refugee question”’ ( Shaw, 2015: 11 ). Add to that equation the poor or misleading data that hinders international efforts to assist refugees and it becomes

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editor’s Introduction

even those inspired by anti-communism were cautious about structural integration into Western security strategies. At the beginning of the 1990s, NGOs shrugged off their scepticism for the morality of state power, working more closely with Western military forces. Private and government funding for humanitarian operations increased. With the help of news media, humanitarian agencies boosted their political capital, presenting themselves as providers of public moral conscience for the West. A new political economy of humanitarian aid developed

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Digital Bodies, Data and Gifts

changers’ or ‘revolutions in humanitarian affairs’. 8 At the same time, the optics of engaging in humanitarian activities have acquired commercial logic by creating a marketable moral economy of good intentions. While this has succeeded in creating societal acceptance (in the case of drones) or new consumers (in the case of cash cards), the promoters of humanitarian wearables might be more interested in achieving mass distribution to enable the technology to become a vehicle

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

actors in conflicts. Neither a moral code to be brandished nor a relic to be dismissed, IHL helps humanitarian organisations find their place in war. That is not nothing, and it makes IHL worth defending. To expect more is to forget what it is, at bottom, and delude ourselves about its virtues. To imply that war can be civilised by law is to ignore the political realities of both law and war. Henry Dunant talked about creating ‘oases of humanity’ in the flood of violence that is war. Let us

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs