The World in Humanitarian Objects: Power, Change, Care and Control

Panel details

Panel organiser(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online
Number of paper presentations 4


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Humanitarian therapeutic feeding, protective gear, lamps, toilets, cooking stoves, cryptocurrencies, wearables, drones, shelters, vehicles, drinking straws—scholars have increasingly taken a critical interest in how humanitarian artifacts are constituted as objects of intervention at the interface of political, legal, financial and organizational cultural priorities and values—and how they are mediated, translated and received once deployed in humanitarian crisis settings. The panel welcomes papers that critically interrogates aspects of care, control and trust as well as the notions of transformative capacity embedded in these objects—in particular how crisis affected populations invent, develop and use specific objects in the everyday.

This includes papers that critically interrogate these issues through the prisms of humanitarian architecture and design. The panel also calls for papers on how ideas of ‘the quantified self’ shapes ‘beneficiary management’ and discourses of participation and empowerment. Finally, the panel also welcomes papers exploring how objects are produced through the interactions between private sector partners and humanitarian actors.

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