Law

How IPC Data is Communicated through the Media to Trigger Emergency Responses
François Enten

The article shows how the data of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) remain ‘poor numbers’. First, because of the intrinsic uncertainty that presides over their production, but above all because of their necessary translation into the media system to trigger responses to crises. Drawing on Boltanski’s thesis on the politics of pity, it emphasises how figures are seen as a partial element of media rhetoric. The figures becomes a performative number when combined with registers of emotion and collective representations of famine. Two examples are developed through interviews with humanitarian practitioners: the crisis in Yemen (2018) as an ‘overexposed crisis’ and the crisis in Madagascar (2021) as a ‘silent crisis’.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
An Interview with Irina Mützelburg (October 2022)
Brendan Lawson
,
Joël Glasman
, and
Irina Mützelburg

In this interview, Irina Mützelburg discusses the production and spreading of humanitarian numbers in the on-going Russian–Ukrainian war since February 2022. She traces the emergence of the announced number of Ukrainian refugees several months before the beginning of the full-scale invasion and analyses the ways in which the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) compile statistics respectively on Ukrainian refugees abroad and internally displaced persons (IDPs). Numbers are produced to be coherent and higher, to illustrate the need for attention and funding. Furthermore, the debated issue of Ukrainians who (were) moved to Russia since the invasion is reviewed, discussing not only the numbers, but also the ways the Ukrainian and the Russian states frame the ways and reasons for which Ukrainians came to Russia. Finally, the interview covers the term ‘evacuee’ and ‘evacuation’ that both Russian and Ukrainian politicians and media use in unusual ways and which have been taken up by international media outlets.

Irina Mützelburg is a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for East European and International Studies in Berlin and a co-coordinator of the German-French ANR-DFG project, Limspaces, researching everyday life in Moldova and Ukraine. Currently she studies the educational situation of displaced pupils from Ukraine in Germany. She holds a PhD from Sciences Po Paris and has published on Ukraine, migration policies, norm transfer and public policy analysis in the Journal of Intercultural Studies, European Journal of Migration, Revue française de science politique, Revue d’études comparatives Est-Ouest, Revue Gouvernance and Trajectoires. Her book Transferring Asylum Norms to EU Neighbours: Multi-Scalar Policies and Practices in Ukraine has been published with Palgrave Macmillan (London) in 2022.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The Difficulties of a Randomised Clinical Trial Confronted with Real Life in Southern Niger
Mamane Sani Souley Issoufou

This article describes and analyses the tensions linked to the flaws in the system of a randomised clinical trial conducted by Epicentre, an epidemiological research centre created by the non-governmental organisation Médecins Sans Frontières, in southern Niger. It presents an ethnography of the practice of therapeutic experimentation in the context of a clinical trial in which we observe the meticulousness of a set of monitored practices, framed by a bureaucracy and a hierarchy specific to the medical profession, intended to reduce bias as much as possible in order to produce reliable data. Based on an ethnographic survey with the combined use of participant observations (interviews as part of the real-time follow-up of this clinical trial), this article is part of the literature of Science and Technology Studies (STS), which consists in describing the science in the making (, ; ; ). It shows the difficulties of a trial that has not taken into account the local contexts of its implementation, the ‘real life’ and its unexpected effects.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Joël Glasman
and
Brendan Lawson

The modern humanitarian sector is gripped by a data frenzy. How can we take a step back and critically engage with what datafication means? This introduction to the special section begins by outlining three broad theoretical positions within the literature: positivist, constructivist, and reflexivity of actors. To dive deeper, and to tie together the four pieces in this special section, we point to ‘ten things we know about humanitarian numbers’. The ten points cover issues of epistemology, institutionalisation, linguistics, social justice, technology, theorisation and power. Taken together, they offer different springboards from which academics can launch into critiques of data in the humanitarian sector.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Cathrine Brun
and
Cindy Horst

In this article we suggest that the call for widening participation as part of the quest for a more localised humanitarianism has overlooked the clash of ethical registers that this would entail. We show that the formal script of the professionalised humanitarian system operates with an individualised ethics, while multiple other actors that exist alongside the humanitarian system operate with a relational ethical register. Based on a literature review on civic humanitarianism and humanitarianism embedded in social practice, we explore dimensions of the web of social interaction within which humanitarian practices often take place. We ask how to conceptualise these humanitarian relationships when relationships in themselves are understood as compromising humanitarian principles. Inspired by decolonial perspectives and relational ontologies and ethics, we then identify key dimensions of a relational humanitarianism: solidarity, responsibility and justice; identity and belonging; social distance and proximity; and temporality. In conclusion we suggest that for calls for localisation to succeed in genuinely changing power relations and practices, better understanding and recognition of relational ethical registers that operate alongside the formal script of the professionalised humanitarian system is required.

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Abstract only
Margaret Brazier
,
Emma Cave
, and
Rob Heywood

We set out the Abortion Act 1967 that applies in England, Wales and Scotland, considering its background, current application, recent reform of access to early medical abortion and proposals for additional reform.

in Medicine, patients and the law
Margaret Brazier
,
Emma Cave
, and
Rob Heywood

This chapter considers ethical and legal developments around informed consent. The right of the patient, who is sufficiently rational and mature to understand what is entailed in treatment, to decide for themselves whether to agree to that treatment is a basic human right. The right to autonomy, to self-rule rather than rule by others, is endorsed by ethicists as a right to patient autonomy. The law has changed significantly in recent times, limiting medical paternalism and promoting patient-centred care.

in Medicine, patients and the law
Abstract only
Margaret Brazier
,
Emma Cave
, and
Rob Heywood

This chapter considers the regulation of human fertilisation and embryology. It considers the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Acts and the role of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. It considers the regulation of treatment of people unable to have a child and assistance that can be given to those who could pass on serious genetic conditions to their children.

in Medicine, patients and the law
Margaret Brazier
,
Emma Cave
, and
Rob Heywood

This chapter looks at two dimensions of consent to medical treatment. When an adult is incapable of deciding for themselves whether or not to agree to treatment, how can treatment be lawfully authorised on their behalf? If an adult refuses to agree to treatment, can that refusal be overruled, either on the grounds that the patient ‘irrationally’ refused treatment which was in their interests, or because, untreated, their physical or mental condition threatens the safety of other people?

in Medicine, patients and the law
Abstract only
Margaret Brazier
,
Emma Cave
, and
Rob Heywood

This chapter looks at the doctrinal principles of clinical negligence. The civil law of negligence is designed to provide compensation for one individual injured by another’s negligence. Clinical negligence involves certain special factors.

in Medicine, patients and the law