Humanitarianism in the modern world : the moral economy of famine relief
Norbert Götz, Georgina Brewis and Steffen Werther
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2020
XIV, 355 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Bibliography: p. 311-341. Index
This is an innovative new history of famine relief and humanitarianism. The authors apply a moral economy approach to shed new light on the forces and ideas that motivated and shaped humanitarian aid during the Great Irish Famine, the famine of 1921-1922 in Soviet Russia and the Ukraine, and the 1980s Ethiopian famine. They place these episodes within a distinctive periodisation of humanitarianism which emphasises the correlations with politico-economic regimes: the time of elitist laissez-faire liberalism in the nineteenth century as one of ad hoc humanitarianism; that of Taylorism and mass society from c.1900-1970 as one of organised humanitarianism; and the blend of individualised post-material lifestyles and neoliberal public management since 1970 as one of expressive humanitarianism. The book as a whole shifts the focus of the history of humanitarianism from the imperatives of crisis management to the pragmatic mechanisms of fundraising, relief efforts on the ground, and finance.
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