Humanitarianism in Question: Politics, Power, Ethics

Front Cover
Michael Barnett, Thomas G. Weiss
Cornell University Press, 2008 - Political Science - 303 pages
0 Reviews

Years of tremendous growth in response to complex emergencies have left a mark on the humanitarian sector. Various matters that once seemed settled are now subjects of intense debate. What is humanitarianism? Is it limited to the provision of relief to victims of conflict, or does it include broader objectives such as human rights, democracy promotion, development, and peacebuilding?

For much of the last century, the principles of humanitarianism were guided by neutrality, impartiality, and independence. More recently, some humanitarian organizations have begun to relax these tenets. The recognition that humanitarian action can lead to negative consequences has forced humanitarian organizations to measure their effectiveness, to reflect on their ethical positions, and to consider not only the values that motivate their actions but also the consequences of those actions.

In the indispensable Humanitarianism in Question, Michael Barnett and Thomas G. Weiss bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines to address the humanitarian identity crisis, including humanitarianism's relationship to accountability, great powers, privatization and corporate philanthropy, warlords, and the ethical evaluations that inform life-and-death decision making during and after emergencies.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

The Rise of Emergency Relief
49
Charity Progress
73
Saying No to WalMart? Money and Morality
98
AccountableWhy
124
Michael Barnett and Jack Snyder
143
The Power of Holding Humanitarianism Hostage
172
Sacrifice Triage and Global Humanitarianism
196
The Distributive Commitments of International NGOs
215
Humanitarianism as a Scholarly Vocation
235
Social Science Matters
264
Contributors
287
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

Michael Barnett is University Professor of International Affairs and Political Science at The George Washington University.

Bibliographic information