Beyond the Local: Cultural translatability in humanitarian interventions


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Conventional approaches to humanitarian interventions, even those focused on local and bottom-up solutions, continue to rely on cultural referents that are rooted in western epistemologies. This constitutes a fundamental limitation in their capacity to understand and support forms of social and political organisation that are relevant to mitigate humanitarian crises. In particular, the language and cultural referents which prevail in humanitarian organisations can prove to be a persistent limitation in the identification of culturally relevant forms of resilience to crises. Such issues can be exacerbated by the typically short timeframe of humanitarian interventions, which curtail the time consuming translation that is necessary to overcome such limitations. They can also be exacerbated in conflict-affected contexts, where the dialogue necessary to establish common understanding can be stifled as a result of social polarization. This panel will explore the question of translation of different forms of knowledge and understanding in the humanitarian context. It invites presentations on projects that have been able to both critically reflect on their own frameworks and the limitations they hold in terms of understanding context, and projects that have devised ways to translate and incorporate alternative epistemologies within their functioning.

Date(s) & Time(s)

November 4th, 2021
13:30 (GMT +1)
Room 15
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Jeremy Allouche, Dieunedort Wandji, Camille Maubert, Gauthier Marchais