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Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 407383
Title Humanitarian Space as Arena: A Perspective on the Everyday Politics of Aid
Author(s) Hilhorst, D.J.M.; Jansen, B.J.
Source Development and Change 41 (2010)6. - ISSN 0012-155X - p. 1117 - 1139.
Department(s) Chair Disaster Studies
Rural Development Sociology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2010
Keyword(s) tsunami sri-lanka - assistance - disaster - conduct - code
Abstract 'Humanitarian space' denotes the physical or symbolic space which humanitarian agents need to deliver their services according to the principles they uphold. This concept, which separates humanitarian action from its politicized environment, is widely used in policy documents and academic texts, even though empirical evidence abounds that this space is in fact highly politicized. To some extent the uncritical use of the concept of humanitarian space is understandable because of its aspirational character. This article explores a different angle: how different actors use the concept and the language of humanitarian space and principles in the everyday politics of aid delivery. It proposes an empirical perspective that approaches humanitarian space from the perspective of everyday practices of policy and implementation. It maintains that the humanitarian space is an arena where a multitude of actors, including humanitarians and the disaster-affected recipients of aid, shape the everyday realities of humanitarian action. The paper develops this perspective for two humanitarian operations: a protracted refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, and the tsunami response in Sri Lanka.
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