Biopolitics, Governmentality and Humanitarianism : 'Caring' for the Population in Afghanistan and Belarus book cover
1st Edition

Biopolitics, Governmentality and Humanitarianism
'Caring' for the Population in Afghanistan and Belarus

ISBN 9780415855457
Published April 15, 2015 by Routledge
166 Pages

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Book Description

This book critically analyses the changing role and nature of post-Cold War humanitarianism, using Foucault's theories of biopolitics and governmentality.

It offers a compelling and insightful interpretation of the policies and practices associated with ‘new humanitarianism in general, as well as of the dynamics of two specific international assistance efforts: the post-2001 conflict-related assistance effort in Afghanistan and the post-2000 Chernobyl-related assistance effort in Belarus.

The central argument of the book is that ‘new’ humanitarianism represents a dominant regime of humanitarian governing informed by globalising neoliberalism and is reliant on a complex set of biopolitical, disciplinary and sovereign technologies. It demonstrates that, while the purposes of humanitarian governing are specific to particular contexts, its promise of care is more often than not accompanied by sovereign and/or biopolitical violences.

Making an important contribution to existing scholarship on humanitarian emergencies and humanitarian action, on biopolitics and governmentality, this book will be of much interest to students and scholars of humanitarianism, critical security studies, governmentality and  International Relations generally.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. ‘Working with Foucault after Foucault’: biopolitics, governmentality and the international 2. ‘New’ humanitarianism as a regime of governing: context, agendas, actors, technologies 3. ‘Caring’ for the population of Afghanistan: the biopolitics of aid securitisation and militarisation 4. ‘Caring’ for the population of Belarus: problematisations that matter and Chernobyl’s ‘ghosts’ Conclusions Bibliography

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Volha Piotukh holds PhD in Politics and International Studies and is currently Postdoctoral Research Associate at Durham University.


'... the book promises something new and thought‐provoking to many in the reading audience... this is an insightful read that will be welcomed by scholars and intellectuals interested in Afghan and Belarusian politics and society, and/or the topics of biopolitics, international governmentality, and international humanitarian action.'--Evgenia Ivanova, Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society (JSPPS)