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Syrian Diasporans as Transnational Civil Society Actors

Perspectives from a Network for Refugee Assistance

Shawn Teresa Flanigan and Mounah Abdel-Samad

This article presents early qualitative data from an ongoing project that includes interviews with members of a Syrian diaspora network engaged in giving and receiving philanthropy. With the onset of the Syrian refugee crisis, the network began to provide education for displaced Syrian children in Lebanon in addition to its other activities. The purpose of the research project is to understand motivations and mechanisms of humanitarian assistance toward a conflict region, and also if and how the practice of philanthropy is tied to peacebuilding on the ground and individuals’ sense of political efficacy. This article gives particular attention to the civil society aspects of diasporan assistance, and how those engaged in humanitarian aid conceive of their influence on politics, policy, and peacebuilding.

Open access

Coming Together in the So-Called Refugee Crisis

A Collaboration Among Refugee Newcomers, Migrants, Activists and Anthropologists in Berlin

Nasima Selim, Mustafa Abdalla, Lilas Alloulou, Mohamed Alaedden Halli, Seth M. Holmes, Maria Ibiß, Gabi Jaschke, and Johanna Gonçalves Martín

In 2015, Germany entered what would later become known as the ‘refugee crisis’. The Willkommenskultur (welcoming culture) trope gained political prominence and met with significant challenges. In this article, we focus on a series of encounters in Berlin, bringing together refugee newcomers, migrants, activists and anthropologists. As we thought and wrote together about shared experiences, we discovered the limitations of the normative assumptions of refugee work. One aim of this article is to destabilise terms such as refugee, refugee work, success and failure with our engagements in the aftermath of the ‘crisis’. Refugee work is not exclusively humanitarian aid directed towards the alleviation of suffering but includes being and doing together. Through productive failures and emergent lessons, the collaboration enhanced our understandings of social categories and the role of anthropology.

Open access

Vernacular Humanitarianisms

An Introduction

Čarna Brković

socialism, by an idea that anyone can find themselves in need of humanitarian aid – which was likely the result of the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s, by the shrinkage of public healthcare and the individualisation of responsibility for wellbeing and survival

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Along the twilights of care

Continuities of technomoral politics in São Paulo's pro-migrant activism

Heike Drotbohm

humanitarian entanglement, one that connects Brazil's histories with Haiti's. Subsequently, I return to my theoretical and conceptual considerations to elaborate on structural differences and similarities between humanitarian aid and practices of solidarity

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Is civilizational primordialism any better than nationalist primordialism?

Denys Gorbach

–2022. ” Focaal—Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology 96 : 32 – 45 . . Bulakh , Tetiana . 2023 . “ Things that matter: Humanitarian aid and citizenship among Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Ukraine

Open access

Encountering Compassion

Venezuelan Migrants and Emerging Forms of Humanitarianism in Colombia

Jan Grill

countries providing humanitarian aid across the continent. These forms of national responses and actions by international humanitarian organisations were also accompanied by more regional and local forms of humanitarian actions. Although many of these

Open access

Rethinking affects of care through power

An introduction

Heike Drotbohm and Hansjörg Dilger

“spontaneous” or “informal” ways of humanitarian aid coexist firmly along with formalized types of humanitarian intervention beyond acute states of crisis ( Drotbohm 2021 ). Furthermore, we argue that the processual nature of all these dynamics can be

Free access

Neutrality in foreign aid

Shifting contexts, shifting meanings—examples from South Sudan

Elżbieta Drążkiewicz

activities, I want to demonstrate how strongly the ideals, which are set up for the very narrow context of humanitarian aid delivery, in fact infiltrate all different aspects of aid workers’ lives. The events presented here took place shortly after the

Free access


Lukas Ley and Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov

inhabitants of Mariupol seems like a nascent moral response to their suffering in the aftermath of the city's near-destruction; it is expressed by individual efforts rather than organised humanitarian aid. The grassroots ethical contours of this humanitarian

Free access


Lukas Ley and Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov

-century teleological futurism of capitalism, state socialism or neoliberalism, argue Bandak and Anderson, is its ‘presentism’ in the sense of François Hartog (2015) . Bandak and Anderson identify presentism in secular instruments of humanitarian aid, management