Call for Papers - Strengthening the right to education in emergencies: normative change in humanitarian responses to children

Strengthening the right to education in emergencies: normative change in humanitarian responses to children

Submitted by Sonja Hoevelmann
For panel Ethics of Humanitarian Action & Politics of Humanitarianism on the Subject of Child Rights Complaints Mechanisms

Increasingly long-term crises and protracted emergencies have yielded humanitarian actors to adapt their responses to populations affected by these, including children. Fulfilling the right to education also in times of emergencies is codified in several treaties of international law, yet seldomly fulfilled. Education does not fit neatly within a narrow definition of life-saving assistance but is considered a contraction to humanitarian norms due to its transformational and political character. Through a discursive analysis, it is traced how humanitarian actors have elevated education in emergencies on the international agenda by means of framing to argue for an inclusion into core humanitarian responses. Conceptualising institutionalisation as a shared definition of reality that actors communicate via discourse, the analysis demonstrates that education in emergencies is an emergent normative concept that has received more attention and become increasingly institutionalised over the past years. The article puts forward how their framing strategies were successful because an increasing number of actors adopted the norm, yet how these actors also lost control over its meaning, as more agents re-framed it according to their needs. The paper thus explores how education in emergencies as a controversial norm has developed within the humanitarian sector.

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