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.
This book has benefited from the wisdom and generosity of many fine people. First, it would never have been written without the guidance of Roland Bleiker. An outstanding mentor and scholar, I owe him a great debt of gratitude for his dedication to this project. I also want to thank Martin Weber for his many hours of provocative conversation, which pushed me out of my comfort zone and into new territory. More broadly, Jim George gave me the confidence to engage with international politics in the way I have, and his influence is everywhere in the pages that follow.
Special thanks go to the numerous scholars and friends who have read drafts and added their perspective. In particular, I want to thank Rob Cameron, Mark Chou, Luke Hennessy, Emma Hutchison, Nico Taylor, Jan Fadnes, Mike Spann, Ben Walter, Connie Duncombe, George Karavas, Ange Setterland, Jess Gifkins, Caitlin Sparks, Samid Suliman, John De Bhal, Shannon Brincat, Emily Tannock, Kamil Shah, Seb Kempf, Andrew Philips, Tim Dunne and Richard Devetak. I am grateful to the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland for its support and for the vibrant intellectual atmosphere that it facilitates, not least through the visiting scholar programme and weekly seminar series. Visits from David Campbell, Siba Grovogui, James Der Derian and Nita Crawford were all important for the development of this work.
I also want to acknowledge valuable reviews from Richard Jackson and Anthony Burke on the doctoral thesis the book is based on, as well as the direction of three anonymous reviewers at later stages of manuscript development. I am also grateful for the valuable guidance provided by Tony Mason at Manchester University Press.
Finally, I want to thank my family. Mum and Dad have been an enduring source of encouragement across my unlikely transition from professional rugby player to international relations scholar. The Serisier clan have welcomed me in and made my causes their own. Most important of all, I want to thank my wonderful wife, Camille, without whose love and inspiration none of this would have been possible.