It had relevance in a context where, since the end of the Cold War, the majority of casualties in war had been civilian, where more than 30 million people had been displaced from their homes, where large numbers of child soldiers had been recruited or forced into violent conflict, and where rape had become a standard practice of warfare.
The concept emerged from the fusion of several other concepts Hampson et al. The first, which was introduced by the Brundtland Commission in , was sustainable development. The second, introduced by the first development report of the UN Development Program in , was human development.
Critical Theorists and International Relations
In the fifth Human Development Report in human development was merged with a significantly broadened security agenda to produce human security Hampson et al. The core concern underpinning the human security concept is the inextricable interrelationship between freedom from want and freedom from fear Thomas This rests on a holistic understanding in which the vulnerability of individuals poses a threat to — and thus the safety of individuals is key to — global security Hampson One major focus of the human security agenda was a treaty that banned landmines, which are often left scattered around a landscape after war, and can be a source of harm to people going about their daily business.
Other issues on the agenda include protecting civilians in armed conflict; reforming sanction regimes to mitigate some of the more negative effects on civilians; the rights of women; humanitarian intervention to protect against future Rwandas or Srebrenicas; and the demobilization and rehabilitation of combatants, and particularly child soldiers. The ICISS proposal represents a rethinking of the conflictual relationship between sovereignty and non-interference, on the one hand, and human rights on the other.
Sovereignty comes with an obligation of the state to provide protection to its population. When the latter is not forthcoming or the state becomes a source of harm, the responsibility to protect transfers to the international community. Human security is a critical concept in so far as it raises questions about the focus and assumptions of realist security studies.
Scholars have, however, complained about the existence of over thirty definitions of human security Alkire The lack of clear boundaries has been useful for political actors who seek to organize as broad a coalition as possible behind the concept, and for anthropologists who seek to uncover how it is used in different contexts. Scholars of human security have, on the one hand, sought a more precise category in order to improve its analytic strength, and, on the other hand, have been troubled by the difficulty of fixing the definition of human security.
Kyle Grayson raises a concern about the politics of conceptualizing human security. On the one hand, despite its distance from liberal notions of possessive individualism, as noted by Thomas :xi , human security does have links to a liberal model of development. In this respect, many of its assumptions are in conflict with more critical theories of development. On the other hand, the concept has been used to present a critical challenge to current practice.
Human security has been a key concept of NGOs and others who are interested in actually transforming global economic structures. Liberal discourses of development and democracy have focused on individual states, ignoring the embeddedness of these states in historical relations that are global. This focus has been maintained in the merging of development and security discourses. Mark Duffield provides a critical analysis of the relationship between security and development, which, he argues, has increasingly been addressed within a liberal governance model.
Since the mids there has been a change of policy based on the conclusion that underdevelopment is dangerous and is a source of conflict. Conflict is a result of underdeveloped and dysfunctional war-torn societies. The solution to underdevelopment is to be found in the transformation of individual societies rather than the global system in this liberal logic. The policy of international organizations has thus shifted from humanitarian assistance and aid, per se, to the process of reconstructing post-conflict societies along liberal lines Duffield Duffield examines human security as part of a Foucauldian strategy of biopolitics, whereby a strategic complex of global actors and governing agencies, through a newly formed public—private relationship, shapes and controls civil populations.
He argues that the nature of power and authority has changed radically. This new power, expressed in the globalized structures of liberal peace, differs from old imperial structures. Rather than the brute imposition of power, or the direct control of territory, we see partnership and participation, which implies a mutual acceptance of shared normative understandings. Inclusion in global structures means buying into the norms that underpin these structures. This development is a response to the demise of political alternatives in the South, since the end of the Cold War and the demise of the socialist project.
On the part of the West, it is an attempt to stem refugee flows and to transform entire societies, replacing indigenous values and modes of organization with liberal ones. The marriage of development and security discourses reinforced a liberal agenda of transforming entire societies into liberal democracies. This agenda is problematic for two reasons.
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Marxists view human security as a repackaging of liberal humanitarianism, with its routine failure to address underlying social causes Thomas The resulting practices have the potential to reproduce historical relationships of power. On the one hand, human security embodies a number of liberal assumptions and has reinforced a liberal agenda. On the other hand, it contains a potential for questioning and rethinking these assumptions.
Liberal approaches ask how security is to be provided to the individual, given the failure of states. The Frankfurt School originated in s Germany with Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, who articulated a technique of immanent critique and the concept of emancipation.
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Immanent critique begins with the idea that the critical theorist stands within time and within a historical context, rather than outside time as an objective observer, as assumed by problem solving theories. The critical theorist creates a critical distance from his or her historical context in order to explore its origins, development, institutions, and potential for change Booth Critical theory presents a more three-dimensional world containing not only the powerful but others as well.
This means focusing on the men, women, and communities for whom the present order is a cause of insecurity. If all theory is theory for someone, then critical theory, or critical security studies, is for the voiceless, the unrepresented, the powerless, and its purpose is their emancipation Wyn Jones In everyday language, emancipation is associated with struggles for freedom from domination, such as the emancipation of American slaves or the emancipation of women.
The word is derived from the Latin emancipare , meaning the action of setting free from slavery or tutelage Wyn Jones, in Booth The theoretical roots of the concept are found in Marxist theory. Several decades later, Habermas ; discussed emancipation in relation to interaction and community, and identified emancipation with the potential to be freed from those institutions and practices that stand in the way of unconstrained communication.
Within international relations, Andrew Linklater adapted the discourse ethics of Habermas to an argument about the potential for global dialogue as a path to more universal agreement and thus a more universal culture and identity. Ken Booth further identified two elements of the relationship between security and emancipation, defining security as the absence of threats, and presenting emancipation as freeing people from the physical and human constraints that stop them from carrying out what they freely choose to do.
War and the threat of war are constraints, as are poverty, poor education, and oppression. He later —2 defined what emancipation is not. In his argument, it is not a universal, timeless concept, nor can it be gained at the expense of others. Emancipation is not synonymous with westernization. These arguments point to a larger concern, expressed by other critical theorists, that the concept of emancipation is too closely linked with modernity, meta-narratives, especially Marxism and liberalism, and the Enlightenment belief that humanity is progressing toward a more perfect future.
Protagonists in this debate fear that the codification of positive alternatives, based on the search for universal consensus, as suggested by Habermas or Linklater, will only buttress new regimes of power, as was the case with Marxist communism in the former Eastern Bloc. They point to Western discourses of universalism that are implicated in the production of a particular conception of politics and society. In this conception, negative representations of non-European peoples contribute to the construction of Western identity as the highest civilization, and legitimize its project of global domination Linklater From this perspective, the critique of universalist concepts, including emancipation, is fundamental to eradicating hegemonic representations of the non-Western world that have been part of the construction of Western power.
Even when the concrete agents of emancipation are not themselves Westerners, they are conceived as the bearers of Western ideas. This does not mean that emancipation needs to be avoided per se, only that, like any other phenomenon in international relations, critical attention to its underlying assumptions is required. Emancipation begins with critique and is primarily about the act of freeing, whether from the assumptions that blind us to alternatives or from the structures of power that constrain human potential.
Wyn Jones in Booth argues that some concept of emancipation is a necessary element of any form of analysis that attempts to problematize and criticize the status quo. Immanent critique is one step in this process and the point of departure for identifying the emancipatory potential of a context.
Emancipation can more generally be understood in relation to the critical imperative of freeing security studies from those assumptions that blind scholars to concerns outside its narrow definition, which focuses on statecraft and force, thereby opening a space to consider alternatives. Emancipation further refers to freeing those outside established structures of power from the constraints that hold them back from realizing their potential.
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Lyon ed. Theorizing Surveilliance: The Panopticon and Beyond. Cullompton: Willan, pp. Booth, K. Review of International Studies 17 14 , — Dunne and N. Wheeler eds. Human Rights in Global Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. Boulder: Lynne Rienner. Burke, A. Alternatives 27, 1— Buzan, B. London: Harvester Wheatsheaf. Campbell, D. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Cardoso, F. Berkeley: University of California Press. At www. Connolly, W. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
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Security Studies 1 2 , — Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Dalby, S. Der Derian, J. Lexington: Lexington Books. Derrida, J. Mouffe ed. Deconstruction and Pragmatism. London: Routledge, pp. Dillon, M. International Political Sociology 1, 7— Doty, R. Duffield, M. London: Zed Books. Enloe, C. Fierke, K. European Journal of International Relations 2 4 , — Manchester: University of Manchester Press.
Cambridge: Polity. Armonk: M. In Europe today, few states conform to either definition of nation-state: many continue to have royal sovereigns, and hardly any are ethnically homogeneous. The particular European system supposing the sovereign equality of states was exported to the Americas, Africa, and Asia via colonialism and the "standards of civilization".
The contemporary international system was finally established through decolonization during the Cold War. However, this is somewhat over-simplified. While the nation-state system is considered "modern", many states have not incorporated the system and are termed "pre-modern". Further, a handful of states have moved beyond insistence on full sovereignty, and can be considered "post-modern". The ability of contemporary IR discourse to explain the relations of these different types of states is disputed.
What is explicitly recognized as international relations theory was not developed until after World War I , and is dealt with in more detail below. IR theory, however, has a long tradition of drawing on the work of other social sciences. The use of capitalizations of the "I" and "R" in international relations aims to distinguish the academic discipline of international relations from the phenomena of international relations.
Similarly, liberalism draws upon the work of Kant and Rousseau , with the work of the former often being cited as the first elaboration of democratic peace theory. In the 20th century, in addition to contemporary theories of liberal internationalism , Marxism has been a foundation of international relations. International relations as a distinct field of study began in Britain. Georgetown University 's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service is the oldest international relations faculty in the United States , founded in In the early s, the London School of Economics ' department of international relations was founded at the behest of Nobel Peace Prize winner Philip Noel-Baker : this was the first institute to offer a wide range of degrees in the field.
The creation of the posts of Montague Burton Professor of International Relations at LSE and at Oxford gave further impetus to the academic study of international relations. The first university entirely dedicated to the study of IR was the Graduate Institute of International Studies now the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies , which was founded in to form diplomats associated to the League of Nations. The Committee on International Relations at the University of Chicago was the first to offer a graduate degree , in The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy , a collaboration between Tufts University and Harvard , opened its doors in as the first graduate-only school of international affairs in the United States.
IR theories are roughly divided into one of two epistemological camps: "positivist" and "post-positivist". Positivist theories aim to replicate the methods of the natural sciences by analysing the impact of material forces. They typically focus on features of international relations such as state interactions, size of military forces, balance of powers etc.
Post-positivist epistemology rejects the idea that the social world can be studied in an objective and value-free way. A key difference between the two positions is that while positivist theories, such as neo-realism, offer causal explanations such as why and how power is exercised , post-positivist theories focus instead on constitutive questions, for instance what is meant by "power"; what makes it up, how it is experienced and how it is reproduced.
Often, post-positivist theories explicitly promote a normative approach to IR, by considering ethics. This is something which has often been ignored under "traditional" IR as positivist theories make a distinction between "facts" and normative judgments, or "values". During the late s and the s, debate between positivists and post-positivists became the dominant debate and has been described as constituting the Third "Great Debate" Lapid Realism focuses on state security and power above all else.
Early realists such as E. Carr and Hans Morgenthau argued that states are self-interested, power-seeking rational actors, who seek to maximize their security and chances of survival. Similarly, any act of war must be based on self-interest, rather than on idealism. Many realists saw World War II as the vindication of their theory. Realists argue that the need for survival requires state leaders to distance themselves from traditional morality.
Realism taught American leaders to focus on interests rather than on ideology, to seek peace through strength, and to recognize that great powers can coexist even if they have antithetical values and beliefs. History of the Peloponnesian War , written by Thucydides , is considered a foundational text of the realist school of political philosophy. Political realism believes that politics, like society, is governed by objective laws with roots in human nature. To improve society, it is first necessary to understand the laws by which society lives. The operation of these laws being impervious to our preferences, persons will challenge them only at the risk of failure.
Realism, believing as it does in the objectivity of the laws of politics, must also believe in the possibility of developing a rational theory that reflects, however imperfectly and one-sidedly, these objective laws. It believes also, then, in the possibility of distinguishing in politics between truth and opinion—between what is true objectively and rationally, supported by evidence and illuminated by reason, and what is only a subjective judgment, divorced from the facts as they are and informed by prejudice and wishful thinking.
Placing realism under positivism is far from unproblematic however. Morgenthau's belief in this regard is part of the reason he has been classified as a "classical realist" rather than a realist. Major theorists include E. Carr , Robert Gilpin , Charles P. Kindleberger , Stephen D. Krasner , Hans Morgenthau , Samuel P. According to liberalism, individuals are basically good and capable of meaningful cooperation to promote positive change. Liberalism views states, nongovernmental organizations, and intergovernmental organizations as key actors in the international system.
States have many interests and are not necessarily unitary and autonomous, although they are sovereign. Liberal theory stresses interdependence among states, multinational corporations, and international institutions. Theorists such as Hedley Bull have postulated an international society in which various actors communicate and recognize common rules, institutions, and interests. Liberals also view the international system as anarchic since there is no single overarching international authority and each individual state is left to act in its own self-interest.
Liberalism is historically rooted in the liberal philosophical traditions associated with Adam Smith and Immanuel Kant that posit that human nature is basically good and that individual self-interest can be harnessed by society to promote aggregate social welfare. Individuals form groups and later, states; states are generally cooperative and tend to follow international norms.
Liberal international relations theory arose after World War I in response to the inability of states to control and limit war in their international relations.
Critical theorists and international relations - WRAP: Warwick Research Archive Portal
Early adherents include Woodrow Wilson and Norman Angell , who argued that states mutually gained from cooperation and that war was so destructive as to be essentially futile. Liberalism was not recognized as a coherent theory as such until it was collectively and derisively termed idealism by E. Doyle , Francis Fukuyama , and Helen Milner.
Neoliberalism seeks to update liberalism by accepting the neorealist presumption that states are the key actors in international relations, but still maintains that non-state actors NSAs and intergovernmental organizations IGOs matter. Proponents argue that states will cooperate irrespective of relative gains , and are thus concerned with absolute gains. This also means that nations are, in essence, free to make their own choices as to how they will go about conducting policy without any international organizations blocking a nation's right to sovereignty.
Neoliberal institutionalism, an approach founded by Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye, emphasize the important role of international institutions in maintaining an open global trading regime. Regime theory is derived from the liberal tradition that argues that international institutions or regimes affect the behaviour of states or other international actors. It assumes that cooperation is possible in the anarchic system of states, indeed, regimes are by definition, instances of international cooperation.
While realism predicts that conflict should be the norm in international relations, regime theorists say that there is cooperation despite anarchy. Often they cite cooperation in trade, human rights and collective security among other issues. These instances of cooperation are regimes. The most commonly cited definition of regimes comes from Stephen Krasner , who defines regimes as "principles, norms, rules, and decision-making procedures around which actor expectations converge in a given issue-area".
Key Theories of International Relations
Not all approaches to regime theory, however, are liberal or neoliberal; some realist scholars like Joseph Grieco have developed hybrid theories which take a realist based approach to this fundamentally liberal theory. Realists do not say cooperation never happens, just that it is not the norm; it is a difference of degree.
Constructivism is not a theory of IR in the manner of neo-realism, but is instead a social theory which is used to better explain the actions taken by states and other major actors as well as the identities that guide these states and actors. Constructivism in IR can be divided into what Ted Hopf calls "conventional" and "critical" constructivism. Common to all varieties of constructivism is an interest in the role that ideational forces play. The most famous constructivist scholar, Alexander Wendt , noted in a article in International Organization —and later in his book Social Theory of International Politics— that "anarchy is what states make of it".
By this he means that the anarchical structure that neo-realists claim governs state interaction is in fact a phenomenon that is socially constructed and reproduced by states. For example, if the system is dominated by states that see anarchy as a life or death situation what Wendt terms a "Hobbesian" anarchy then the system will be characterized by warfare. If on the other hand anarchy is seen as restricted a "Lockean" anarchy then a more peaceful system will exist. Anarchy in this view is constituted by state interaction, rather than accepted as a natural and immutable feature of international life as viewed by neo-realist IR scholars.
It makes the assumption that the economy trumps other concerns; allowing for the elevation of class as the focus of study. Marxists view the international system as an integrated capitalist system in pursuit of capital accumulation. Thus, colonialism brought in sources for raw materials and captive markets for exports, while decolonialization brought new opportunities in the form of dependence. A prominent derivative of Marxian thought is critical international relations theory which is the application of " critical theory " to international relations.
Early critical theorists were associated with the Frankfurt School which followed Marx's concern with the conditions that allow for social change and the establishment of rational institutions. Their emphasis on the "critical" component of theory was derived significantly from their attempt to overcome the limits of positivism. Modern-day proponents such as Andrew Linklater , Robert W. Cox and Ken Booth focus on the need for human emancipation from the nation-state. Hence, it is "critical" of mainstream IR theories that tend to be both positivist and state-centric.
Further linked in with Marxist theories is dependency theory and the core—periphery model , which argue that developed countries, in their pursuit of power, appropriate developing states through international banking, security and trade agreements and unions on a formal level, and do so through the interaction of political and financial advisors, missionaries, relief aid workers, and MNCs on the informal level, in order to integrate them into the capitalist system, strategically appropriating undervalued natural resources and labor hours and fostering economic and political dependence.
Marxist theories receive little attention in the United States. It is more common in parts of Europe and is one of the more important theoretic contributions of Latin American academia to the study of global networks. Feminist IR considers the ways that international politics affects and is affected by both men and women and also at how the core concepts that are employed within the discipline of IR e.
Feminist IR has not only concerned itself with the traditional focus of IR on states, wars, diplomacy and security, but feminist IR scholars have also emphasized the importance of looking at how gender shapes the current global political economy. From its inception, feminist IR has also theorized extensively about men and, in particular, masculinities. Many IR feminists argue that the discipline is inherently masculine in nature. For example, in her article "Sex and Death in the Rational World of Defense Intellectuals" Signs , Carol Cohn claimed that a highly masculinized culture within the defence establishment contributed to the divorcing of war from human emotion.
Feminist IR emerged largely from the late s onwards. The end of the Cold War and the re-evaluation of traditional IR theory during the s opened up a space for gendering International Relations. The implication is that saving lives takes precedence over issues of politics, both practically and ethically. This in turn demanded that individuals and organizations engaged in humanitarian action needed to be able to reach those requiring assistance, and that this meant negotiating access to those with precarious lives.
Classically this has informed the three norms of neutrality, impartiality and independence. Though these have been challenged from the outset by individuals and groups engaged in humanitarian action, they continue to resonate and still shape the nature of the conversation. In order to explore the differences between problem-solving and critical approaches to the study of humanitarianism it is important to understand what critical scholarship has tended to see as the inherent changes in this form of action. This becomes the terrain of critique, and has largely shaped how the concept has been engaged with.
The evolution of humanitarianism during the Cold War provided the context within which the norms that now govern humanitarianism arose and concretized over half a century. Impartiality the delivery of aid on the basis of need , neutrality not directly engaging in local politics and independence not being tied to a particular state , though perhaps necessities of their time, continue to define humanitarian ideals, if not its actual practice. Because there was little scope for states to publicly violate sovereignty to alleviate apparent suffering, international organizations and non-governmental organizations NGOs embraced the role of protector.
Though it is a myth that humanitarian organizations had an easy time accessing zones during this period Magone et al. The experiences of this sector have become the basis of our current thinking about what constitutes humanitarianism. As has been pointed out elsewhere Duffield , the end of the Cold War both presented problems to the New World Order while settling the major ideological debate that had prevented state action. So we had the devolution of states that had either been absorbed by major powers following WWII, and the end of support for a number of regimes, which resulted in civil conflicts across the Global South.
At the same time, the emergence of a liberal peace provided scope for intervention where there had previously been none. This in turn brought the old guard of humanitarianism into close cooperation with state actors who found themselves strange bedfellows Wheeler ; Rieff While it appeared that the traditional humanitarian actors were initially calling the shots, determining where intervention should occur and how aid should be delivered, this did not last.
The involvement of states brought a shift away from negotiated access and neutrality along with new concepts in the language of international relations: humanitarian intervention , and new humanitarianism Rieff ; Newman ; Weiss The growth of peacebuilding has meant that various forms of actions undertaken in the name of humanitarianism were no longer strictly concerned with the alleviation of suffering, but also of redressing the assumed causes of the threats to life. This has resulted in missions, led by states — often specifically led by militaries and involving the use, or threat of use, of force — in the name of humanitarian action.
This is precisely the point where this chapter seeks to enter, laying out two very different types of academic engagement with this issue. Much has been made of this separation, and it provides a useful heuristic device to demonstrate that there are different means of engagement with the social world. Before proceeding it is important to first lay out the basic tenets of problem-solving theory to facilitate the assessment of when particular approaches cross this apparent divide. Problem-solving theories are those which treat significant components of the world around us as a given.
To understand a problem to exist requires an agreement on its nature, which in itself fixes the conceptual boundaries of the problem. Though this orientation accounts for the vast majority of the academic and policy engagement with the concept, it does not mean that there is broad agreement with either what is being pursued, or how it should be achieved. Indeed, he was explicit that it has an important role to play. However, problem-solving is unable to bring about substantive change to the structures that might underpin the very issues we are trying to redress.
When it comes to the subject of humanitarianism, those studies that are trying to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian action are clearly problem-solving. Certainly this accounts for the vast majority of literature on humanitarianism. The major debates that take place are cast within the frame of either improving its operation, or recovering it from the corrosive effects of state interference. With this in mind, critical theories seek profound alterations of established relations of power. Beyond this limited distinction of critical approaches there are fundamental debates about what precisely makes an approach or theory critical.
There are those who argue it requires a post-positivist and perhaps even non-foundational position, which reject meta-narratives of what international politics is, asking instead how international practices constitute power and how such power is experienced Booth : Others focus on the centrality of an emancipatory project trying to empower communities. Rather than asking why something has come to pass, she privileges the exploration of the content of the question, and the power relations both assumed and hidden in such questioning.
The final piece of the critical studies puzzle is the commitment to historicity. The idea here is that relations of power are neither inevitable nor natural. Instead, power, and for some, discourse itself, is historically grounded. This is a rejection of the possibility of an over-arching truth, and is in fact profoundly empowering in its implication that things can change though clearly with difficulty. While humanitarianism is often presented as arising from eternal ethics of responsibility, the concept itself is, for the critical theorists, embedded in history.
It is this awareness and particular form of enquiry that facilitates the prior questions of how it might operate to empower some peoples over others, and how it might privilege particular viewpoints. While on the face of it, it may appear that the division between problem-solving and critical theory is clear, in terms of humanitarianism it is much more difficult to ascertain where the boundaries lie.
Critical approaches to the topic should ideally call into question the base of humanitarianism, explaining its assumptions with an eye to the reproduction of power. Yet, and here is the difficulty, because much of the literature is focused on critiquing the rise of state-led humanitarianism and particularly to military-led humanitarian interventions , it is difficult to ascertain whether it is consistent with problem-solving or critical engagement.
Up to this point the basics of critical scholarship have been sketched out in general terms, and care has been taken to avoid alienating what is a broad range of scholarship with a vast range of commitments on where to look for the practice of power and politics, and what subjects are to be prioritized. At the risk of offending colleagues, I will group academic material into a few distinct groups for heuristic purposes. Nevertheless, the subsequent groupings accord to both shared political and methodological commitments as well as those with whom individuals tend to be in conversation with.
This last point relates to whom the authors cite and engage with, as well as the specified sites within which they choose to interact journals, conferences, workshops and so forth. A final and unconventional grouping will be added to this mix which includes those interested in the repoliticization of humanitarianism. Controversially though, I will also argue that these bodies of work are often more closely aligned to problem-solving when it comes to humanitarianism.
This arises because of a lack of focus on the core concept. As RBJ Walker demonstrated, the construction of the sovereign state determines who belongs inside the state, and those who live beyond it. While critical scholarship has concentrated on foreign policy making and security practices, some scholars have included humanitarianism into their purview.
David Campbell argues that humanitarianism is an important component in the modern reproduction of state sovereignty. This set of approaches highlights the ways in which humanitarianism is imbedded within the broader practice of international relations, and only makes sense in relationship to a global system of sovereignty. In addition to the examination of links between humanitarianism and foreign policy, we have a range of scholars drawing on post-colonial literatures that assess the ways in which humanitarianism emerged within the context of imperialism Tester ; Lester , and relies upon and reproduces the Southern victim as requiring our assistance.
The broad argument, echoing Edward Said, is that the moral character of humanitarianism is inevitably linked to broader representational practices which privilege the experiences of the West. Particular attention is paid to the manner in which these relations are often articulated and experienced along gendered lines though these can interpolate with race, class and age , and there is a common political project of upending patterns of patriarchy.