This collection interrogates the representation of humanitarian crisis and catastrophe, and the refraction of humanitarian intervention and action, from the mid-twentieth century to the present, across a diverse range of media forms: traditional and contemporary screen media (film, television and online video) as well as newspapers, memoirs, music festivals and social media platforms (such as Facebook, YouTube and Flickr). The book thus explores the historical, cultural and political contexts that have shaped the mediation of humanitarian relationships since the middle of the twentieth century. Together, the chapters illustrate the continuities and connections, as well as the differences, which have characterised the mediatisation of both states of emergency and acts of amelioration. The authors reveal and explore the significant synergies between the humanitarian enterprise, the endeavour to alleviate the suffering of particular groups, and media representations, and their modes of addressing and appealing to specific publics. The chapters consider the ways in which media texts, technologies and practices reflect and shape the shifting moral, political, ethical, rhetorical, ideological and material dimensions of international humanitarian emergency and intervention, and have become integral to the changing relationships between organisations, institutions, governments, individual actors and entire sectors.
The editors would like to thank the Economic and Social Research Council for their generous funding of the Research Seminar Series on ‘UK Africa policy after Labour’ between 2014 and 2016 (Reference ES/L000725/1), at which many of the chapters collected here were first presented. We are grateful to all of the speakers and participants in the events which made up the series, in both the UK and Kenya, for their engagement and enthusiasm in bringing this project to fruition. We would also like to acknowledge the contributions of all of our series partners, for hosting and otherwise supporting the events and the seminar team, including: the Royal African Society, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Africa, British Institute in Eastern Africa, Chatham House, Institute for Public Policy Research, the University of Birmingham, Oxford Brookes University, the University of Warwick and the University of Sheffield. Finally, thanks are due to the two anonymous reviewers for their support for this manuscript and thorough reading of drafts, and to Rob and Tony at Manchester University Press for helping to ensure we made it across the finishing line.