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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

3 The history and present of ‘Africa’s World War’ S The ‘failure’ of the DRC and the militarisation of peace peaking in 2010 of the International Security and Stabilisation Support Strategy (ISSSS) for the DRC, a MONUSCO officer argued that the escalation of violence in the Kivus over the last few years was caused by the DRC state being ‘inexistent’ (MONUSCO – ISSSS/STAREC liaison officer 2010). For this MONUSCO representative, some functions of the state did not work properly. So the task of international actors was to operationalise the state towards making

in Everyday resistance, peacebuilding and state-making
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

Paris Commune during Semaine Sanglante (21–28 May 1871), he barely mentioned it in his writings – the man who had been shocked by the carnage in Solferino. Selective indignation has a long history! The final third of the nineteenth century, with its progress in transport and communications, was also a time of accelerating colonial conquest, ‘transformed ipso facto into just wars in the name of natural law, trade, movement, and property’, in the words of historian Enzo

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
A Focus on Community Engagement

representative of practices regularly implemented to gain communities’ trust and stem potential resistance to epidemic control measures: communication through elders and youths in Guinea; engagement with NGO-affiliated community leadership structures in Liberia; indirect mediation to chiefs in Sierra Leone. Inspired by the extended-case-study method developed by the Manchester School ( Gluckman, 1940 ), we illuminate our ethnography by paying attention to the long history of the relationship

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

. Eurocentrism has taught us to see the potential end of an era in every relative change in Western power. Thinking about the role of humanitarianism today requires that we don’t reproduce or unwittingly celebrate Western-led order by mourning the end of a history that never actually existed. Given past and present non-Western experiences of liberal order, we might ask: what’s there to mourn? My personal experiences of research and knowledge production regarding humanitarianism have reinforced in me an anti-colonial ethos – an intellectual opposition to

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

with the Pentagon, the CIA and other security and intelligence organs of the US government, as well as the Department of Commerce and the Department of the Treasury. To grasp its importance, it is necessary to distinguish it from the eccentric and unpredictable character of Donald Trump. But it is also necessary to recognise that it would take a character like Trump to bring about such a break from the history and tradition of US foreign policy. From a strictly academic perspective, the new strategy document looks like an applied manual of realist

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
Open Access (free)
Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design

spirit of 1970s direct humanitarian action was fabricated from a deductive process of knowledge formation framed by narratives of history, causation and reciprocity. Reflecting the rise to dominance of a cybernetic episteme, this register has been replaced by a reliance on inductive mathematical data and machine-thinking for sense-making ( Rouvroy, 2012 ). Thinking has been transformed into calculation ( Han, 2013 ). 1 The current dominance within the academy of empiricism and behaviourism reflects this change in world-experience. What is often

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs