Paper: Through the looking glass: Coloniality and mirroring in localisation

Paper details

Paper authors Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings
In panel on The Nexus Between Humanitarian Actors and Authoritarian Practices in Times of Crisis
Paper presenter(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online


What assumptions underpin the concept of ‘localisation’ as employed by the mainstream, international humanitarian sector? This paper offers a partial answer to this multi-faceted question. It first considers the meaning(s), or lack thereof, of localisation. It presents coloniality and ‘mirroring’ as two concepts important to understanding the limitations of localisation. It then considers locally led aid in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea), using the example of the Eugene Bell Foundation (EBF). The paper argues that assumptions around the actors involved in local response, as well as assumptions around the existence of NGOs and the normative belief that non-state actors could and should play major roles in response, demonstrate the limits of localisation.