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Reconsidering the Culture of the Humanitarian Field

Reconsidering the Culture of the Humanitarian Field

(p.132) Conclusion Reconsidering the Culture of the Humanitarian Field
Above the Fray
Shai M. Dromi
University of Chicago Press

The conclusion brings the findings of this study to bear on contemporary field theory and on present day humanitarian NGO policies. On the theoretical side, the conclusion highlights the role culture has played in establishing the humanitarian field and in its dynamics over the past 150 years, and argues that field theory would benefit from more focused attention to the beliefs that precipitate field genesis. On the policy side, the conclusion discusses two specific implications. First, while numerous secular NGOs draw boundaries between their work and that of faith-based organizations, the conclusion points to the continuing role of religious faith and religious actors in the humanitarian field. Second, the conclusion outlines emerging alternatives to the traditional humanitarian NGO model, including those that draw links to the human rights field and the development field. Rights-based humanitarianism, in particular, provides some promising ways forward.

Keywords:   rights-based humanitarianism, faith-based NGOs, secularism, human rights, development, Médecins sans frontières, Red Cross, religion, NGO policy, field theory

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