September 14, 2017

Humanitarianism in a Different Key: Principled Pragmatism for Long Term Displacement


Talk by Professor Cathrine Brun- Director of the Centre for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP) at Oxford Brookes University

Date: Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Location: Lebanese American University – Beirut Campus

Humanitarianism in a Different Key? Principled Pragmatism for Long Term Refugee Crisis.

Contemporary refugee movements have increased self-reflection among humanitarian actors operating in ‘non-traditional’ environments in urban contexts, in Europe, along routes over land and sea, and on borders and in borderlands. Current refugee movements add to an increasing number of refugees who are stuck in long-term situations of displacement, where refugees feel that their displacement is never-ending with no solution in sight. In this talk, Professor Brun brought together discourses of humanitarianism and development to critically interrogate the conditions for humanitarianism in long-term crises. The starting point is that non-traditional domains of humanitarian practice together with the ever-increasing number of refugees in long-term situations require new approaches to humanitarian practice. By using protracted refugee situations as a starting point, she analysed current strategies by humanitarian actors in the context of emerging debates around long-term assistance by and beyond humanitarians and into the development domain. Professor Brun focused in particular on the challenges and limitations that humanitarian actors face in negotiating the ethical register within which they operate:  that is, humanitarian principles. Recognising that long-term displacement requires responses that are closer to development practices, while operating within a constrained political environment, ideas were combined from development studies and the ethics of care in a pragmatic approach to suggest an ethics of humanitarianism that could enable development-in-displacement for people forced to live in protracted displacement.

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