Thursday, May 19, 2011

Barnett on humanitarianism

Michael Barnett discusses his book Empire of Humanity (Cornell U.P., 2011) in a talk recorded in early April. I listened to the first 28 minutes or so. He argues, among other things, that humanitarian movements and organizations ('humanitarianisms') are creatures of the historical contexts in which they developed, that they have always interacted with states and 'done politics,' and that the perception among aid workers of a sharp divide between the Cold War and post-Cold War periods is historically false. The first two of these points seem incontestable; the third might be more controversial. I'll leave that to those who know more about this than I do.

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