1st Edition

A Dictionary of Concepts

ISBN 9781857432817
Published June 29, 2018 by Routledge
366 Pages

USD $290.00

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Book Description

The field of humanitarianism is characterised by profound uncertainty, by a constant need to respond to the unpredictable, and by concepts and practices that often defy simple or straightforward explanation. Humanitarians often find themselves not just engaged in the pursuit of effective action, but also in a quest for meaning. That is the starting point for this book.

Humanitarian action has in recent years confronted geopolitical challenges that have upended much of its conventional modus operandi and presented threats to its foundational assumptions and legal frameworks. The critical interrogation of the purpose, practice and future of humanitarian action has yielded a rich new field of enquiry, humanitarian studies, and many thoughtful books, articles and reports. So, the question arose as to the most useful way to provide a critical overview that might serve to bring some definitional clarity as well as analytical rigor to the waves of critique and shifting sands of humanitarian action.

Humanitarianism: A Dictionary of Concepts provides an authoritative analysis that attempts to rethink, rather than merely problematize or define the issues at stake in contemporary humanitarian debates. It is an important moment to do so. Just about every tenet of humanitarianism is currently open to question as never before.


Table of Contents




The Editors and Contributors

Accountability – Bayard Roberts

Humanitarian Advocacy – Duncan Green

Arenas – Dorothea Hilhorst

Camps – Sarah-Jane Cooper-Knock and Katy Long

Communication – Shani Orgad

Epidemics – Gillian McKay and Melissa Parker

Faith, Aid and Global Governance – Jonathan C. Agensky

Famine – Alex de Waal

Genocide – Tim Allen and Elizabeth Storer

Humanitarianism – Tim Allen

Humanity – Henry Radice

International Humanitarian Law – Rebecca Sutton and Orly Stern

Intervention – Chris Brown

Justice – Anna Macdonald

Medical Humanitarianism – Tim Allen

Memory – Rachel Ibreck

Migration – Ruben Andersson

Post-humanitarianism – Lilie Chouliaraki

Prevention: The Challenge of Theory and Practice – Tatiana Carayannis and Sabrina Stein

Resources – Koen Vlassenroot, Jeroen Cuvelier and Bruno De Cordier

Responsibility to Protect – Kirsten Ainley

Terrorism – Stuart Gordon

Violence against Women and Girls – Christine Chinkin

War and Humanitarianism – Mary Kaldor

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Tim Allen is a Professor of Development Anthropology, Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and Director of the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He works at the intersections of accountability, criminal justice, social healing, health care, international development and humanitarian assistance. He has conducted research on the Uganda/South Sudan border since the 1980s as well as on Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya and Ghana. Much of his work has focused on issues of humanitarian crisis, including mass forced displacement, armed conflict and the ways in which populations manage in extreme circumstances. In 2016 he launched the Centre for Public Authority in International Development, which explores how families, clans, religious leaders, aid agencies, civil society, rebel militia and vigilante groups contribute to governance, along with formal and semi-formal government institutions.

Anna Macdonald is a Research Fellow in the International Development Department at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Her research focuses on the politics of transitional justice and humanitarian intervention, and ideas about law and social order in Central Africa. 

Henry Radice is a Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), based on the Conflict Research Programme in the Department of International Development. His work delineates the category of humanitarianism within international political theory, exploring the ethics and politics of humanitarian action and focusing on key notions such as common humanity, human suffering, rescue, solidarity and internationalism. He holds a PhD in International Relations from the LSE.