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Hierarchies and Exclusion in Humanitarianism: Shedding light on an untold story
Stories that are told of humanitarianism portray this field as cohesive and distinct. Humanitarian actors—be they NGOs, IGOs or state agencies—are said to share a commitment to save the lives and alleviate the sufferings of crisis-affected population in a passionate and apolitical way. Humanitarian principles appear as a common doxa, with all actors–whatever their size, historical or geographical backgrounds–claiming to act in a neutral, impartial and independent way in crisis settings.
Yet, this rhetorical cohesiveness hides an untold story: the one of a sector shaped by hierarchies and exclusion dynamics. The goal of this panel is to explore the political and economic factors shaping hierarchies, power relationships and domination patterns in humanitarianism. By bringing together participants from different disciplinary backgrounds (philosophy, sociology, international relations), theoretical and approaches, this panel aims to engage in the multi-level of the study of hierarchies in contemporary humanitarianism, focusing on how power is distributed at the individual, organizational and structural level. Contributors will build on a variety of methodological approaches, ranging from ethnography, document analysis, interview and quantitative approaches.