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The Good ProjectHumanitarian Relief NGOs and the Fragmentation of Reason$
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Monika Krause

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226131221

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226131535.001.0001

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What about Human Rights?

What about Human Rights?

(p.147) Six What about Human Rights?
The Good Project

Monika Krause

University of Chicago Press

In talk of the “international community”, many commentators assume that human rights work and humanitarianism are pulling in the same direction. Others see human rights work and humanitarian relief as two fundamentally different modes of engagement. What both of these approaches share is a focus on the content of ideas. This chapter re-examines the relationship between human rights and humanitarian relief from the perspective of the sociology of practice and of organizational fields. Since the 1970s, two separate fields have emerged – one centred around human rights and one centred around humanitarian relief. Staff in humanitarian relief NGOs have used the language of human rights more and more, for example in the context of discussions about the project of “rights-based relief” and about “protection”. But the impact this language has had in humanitarian work has been mediated by the practical constraints and symbolic divisions of the humanitarian field discussed in the earlier chapters of the book.

Keywords:   human rights, humanitarian relief, NGOs, fields, organizational fields, protection, rights-based relief, sociology of practice, international community, humanitarianism

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