Politics & Humanitarianism in Africa

Politics & Humanitarianism in Africa - FRESHMAN SEMINAR...

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FRESHMAN SEMINAR: POLITICS OF HUMANTIRIANISM IN AFRICA 3 Key Questions Driving Debates about Humanitarianism 1) What are its goals? What is the scope and time frame of its work? -relief and nothing but relief? Economic development? Peace-building? 2) What are its defining principles? -to what extent are ICRC (Red Cross) 3) What is humanitarianisms relation to politics? What unifies humanitarianism? Widespread agreement that the essence of humanitarian action is to save lives at risk BUT… A lot of jobs/organizations do this. So how do we bound our understanding of humanitarianism? - Intentions -to save lives at risk? To alleviate suffering? -complicated = saving lives today may not reduce risk of suffering later -Voluntarism -willing acceptance of danger? Spirit of selflessness? -Principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence -Effects - doing more good than harm? -complicated = looking at outcomes invites comparisons with other sorts of entitles like corporations or states How is humanitarianism connected to ur social, political, and economic context? - Forces of Destruction -acts of violence that place people at immediate risk: -massacres -international and civil wars -war crimes -crimes against humanity -war-induced famines -what has changed? -military technology? -expansion of laws of war that provide more protection and relief to victims -media = more ways of communicating suffering - Forces of Production -capitalism: an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics of capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, competitive markets. In a capitalism market economy, decision-making and investment is determined by the owners of the factors of production and prices and the distribution of goods are mainly determined
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FRESHMAN SEMINAR: POLITICS OF HUMANTIRIANISM IN AFRICA -humanitarianism meets the functional needs of capitalism -capitalism causes the dislocations and disruptions that create the need for humanitarianism -economic imperatives/agendas drive humanitarian action -> humanitarianism intervention promotes or supports market-oriented development -others say that humanitarianism enables neoliberalism, the stripped down state relies on humanitarian agencies to fulfill welfare functions -others say humanitarianism has come to reflect corporate ideals -modern bureaucratic models of management -nations of accountability and measurement of impact -dependence on fund-raising -they interact but they don’t explain each other - neoliberalism: a set of policies in the US and Europe (world bank) 1980s, an idea that was reacting to governments being very involved in the economy (government investment in private industries) to stimulate growth to try and build new industries. Then Ronald Regan and Margaret thatcher (of England) decided the state got too big and the government was too involved with businesses, so it got out of the business of education and health care and a lot of private industries came about.
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