Privileging Forces in the Humanitarian System: Power and Marginalization
Organiser(s): Olivia Wilkinson, Tom Arcaro

"Humanitarianism started off as a powerful discourse; now it is a discourse of power, both at the international and at the community level." (p. 190)
--Antonio Donini "Humanitarianism, Perceptions, and Power" in In the Eyes of Others (Abu Sada, editor; 2012)

Our premise is that Donini is right. Debates focused on humanitarian action have turned to a more detailed analysis of power since the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. Some lines of inequality in the humanitarian system are increasingly clear, with examples including pay grade discrepancies between international and national staff, the ongoing #MeToo/#AidToo revelations, and the now global #BLM movement with links to decolonisation debates in the aid sector. Many now doing analyses of power are starting to name (and shame) the sy ..

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