The humanitarian theatre: drought response during Ethiopia's low-intensity conflict of 2016

Published on Mar 1, 2019in Journal of Modern African Studies0.92
· DOI :10.1017/s0022278x18000654
I. Desportes1
Estimated H-index: 1
Dorothea Hilhorst17
Estimated H-index: 17
H. Mandefro1
Estimated H-index: 1
markdownabstractThis article aims to rekindle the debate on the politics of aid in the increasingly common – yet still under-studied – authoritarian and low-intensity conflict settings, detailing the case of Ethiopia in 2016, when a 50-year drought coincided with a wave of protests and a state of emergency. During four months of qualitative fieldwork in 2017, state, civil society, Ethiopian and international actors were approached – from humanitarian headquarters to communities in the Amhara, Oromiya and Somali regions. Research participants relayed stark discrepancies between the humanitarian theatre's ‘frontstage’, where disaster responders showcase an exemplary response, and its ‘backstage’, where they remove their frontstage masks and reflect on the information, the decision-making monopoly of the state and the intrusion of conflict dynamics into the humanitarian response. In humanitarian research and in policy, a collective conversation is necessary on where to draw the line between respect for governments’ sovereignty and the intrusion of humanitarian principles.
  • References (33)
  • Citations (1)
Published on Dec 8, 2017
de Waal A25
Estimated H-index: 25
ContentsPreface and AcknowledgementsPart I: Perspectives on Famine and StarvationChapter 1: An Unacknowledged AchievementChapter 2: Famines as AtrocitiesChapter 3: Malthus's ZombieChapter 4: A Short History of Modern FaminesPart II: How Famines Were Almost EliminatedChapter 5: Demography, Economics, Public HealthChapter 6: Politics, War, GenocideChapter 7: The Humanitarian InternationalChapter 8: Ethiopia: No Longer the Land of FaminePart III: The Persistence and Return of FaminesChapter 9: The ...
Published on Jul 1, 2016in Journal of International Development1.03
Logan Cochrane6
Estimated H-index: 6
(UBC: University of British Columbia),
Y. Tamiru1
Estimated H-index: 1
With one third of the population living in poverty and millions experiencing chronic food insecurity, the government of Ethiopia faces difficult and complex challenges. One of the most robust and effective social protection efforts is the Productive Safety Net Program, which has served more than seven million people since 2005. This article explores the role of power and politics and posits that the maintenance of political control explains why components of the program are not implemented as pl...
Published on Jun 1, 2016in Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry1.46
Lauren Carruth1
Estimated H-index: 1
(GW: George Washington University)
Drawing on ethnographic research with Somalis, within aid organizations, and within health care facilities in the Somali Region of Ethiopia, this article argues that what is called “global health diplomacy,” despite its origins and articulations in interstate politics, is fundamentally local and interpersonal. As evidence, I outline two very different health programs in the Somali Region of Ethiopia, and how, in each, existing animosities and political grievances were either reinforced or underm...
Published on Jan 1, 2016
Tobias Hagmann14
Estimated H-index: 14
Filip Reyntjens15
Estimated H-index: 15
(University of Antwerp)
In 2013 almost half of Africa’s top aid recipients were ruled by authoritarian regimes. While the West may claim to promote democracy and human rights, in practice major bilateral and international ...
Published on Jan 1, 2015in Journal of Democracy3.67
Alexander Cooley14
Estimated H-index: 14
Over the past decade, the international backlash against liberal democracy has grown and gathered momentum. Authoritarians have experimented with and refined a number of new tools, practices, and institutions that are meant to shield their regimes from external criticism and to erode the norms that inform and underlie the liberal international political order. These global political changes and systemic shifts have produced new counternorms that privilege state security, civilizational diversity...
Published on Aug 9, 2014in Third World Quarterly2.16
Elisabeth King8
Estimated H-index: 8
(Columbia University),
John C. Mutter42
Estimated H-index: 42
(Columbia University)
Comparisons between disasters and violent conflicts are often noted by political figures and in the news media, and those responding to conflicts and disasters witness similarities on the ground. In contrast, the academic fields studying violent conflicts and so-called natural disasters have developed separately and practitioners usually separate the two phenomena as soon as the emergency response is over. This paper, based on interviews with practitioners and a review of scholarly literature, m...
Published on Jul 1, 2014in Asian Politics & Policy
Damien Kingsbury12
Estimated H-index: 12
Since 2011, Myanmar has been undergoing a political transition that, in keeping with the Myanmar government's own claims, has been hailed by many previously critical countries as the start of a process of democratization. Myanmar has become a substantially more liberal country, and in particular its economy has been increasingly liberalized, away from the tight restrictions of the past. However, Myanmar's economic liberalization primarily benefits its entrenched and usually military-dominated or...
Published on Mar 1, 2014in International Political Sociology1.96
Emma Hutchison8
Estimated H-index: 8
(UQ: University of Queensland)
The study of emotion has become a steadily growing field in international relations and international political sociology. This essay adds to the field through a further empirical examination of the political roles emotions can play. Specifically, the essay questions how emotions were implicated in the construction of transnational solidarity—and the associated humanitarian actions—following an event of pivotal global importance: the Asian tsunami disaster of December 2004. To this end, I focus ...
Published on Jan 1, 2014in The journal of Burma studies
M. Matelski2
Estimated H-index: 2
Toward the end of my fi rst year as a PhD student, I participated in a graduate conference on research ethics and dilemmas that anthropologists encounter in the fi eld. My intended fi eld research, covering aspects of human rights, democratization, and social activism in Myanmar, had yet to take place.1 There was limited published academic guidance on how to conduct such research, and the few available ethnographic studies on politics and human rights in Myanmar came under such gloomy titles as ...
Cited By1
Published on Mar 28, 2019
Isabelle Desportes (EUR: Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Little academic research has examined the challenges humanitarian actors face or the strategies they develop in the increasingly numerous authoritarian and low-intensity conflict settings. Based on 4 months of qualitative fieldwork in Myanmar in 2017–2018, this article explores how civil society organisations, international non-governmental organisations, international organisations, and donor agencies tried to provide relief to marginalised minorities in the ethnic States of Chin and Rakhine fo...