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Theses

Saving the saviors : an international political sociology of the professionalization of humanitarian security

Abstract : In recent years, a dominant discourse has emerged asserting that humanitarian work has become a dangerous profession. In response to growing insecurity in the field, humanitarian organizations have developed new security policies to better protect humanitarian staff and infrastructures. Drawing from Andrew Abbott’s historical sociology of professions and Pierre Bourdieu’s social theory of power, this thesis proposes an international political sociology of the professionalization of humanitarian security. To address the shortcomings of normative-functionalist explanations and poststructuralist critiques of humanitarian security, this thesis examines the conditions of possibility fostering the emergence of a microcosm of humanitarian security professionals. As a consequence of this transformation in the division of humanitarian labor, humanitarian organizations now classify some of world’s neediest populations as beyond the limits of reasonable sacrifice. In the production of this exclusion, humanitarian actors reconstruct “populations in need” as “dangerous populations.” By weighing the cost of the loss of a “humanitarian life” against the potential value of saving the lives of needy others, humanitarian actors contribute to the intensification of global divides in their quest for a common humanity. In sum, the imposition of security as a humanitarian logic of practice is analyzed as a driving force of the inversion of the humanitarian imperative to save lives and act in defense of a shared humanity. Contributing to debates on humanitarian security, this thesis also advances the study of international organizations, security, and transnational power elites.
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https://hal-sciencespo.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-03653915
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 28, 2022 - 11:02:46 AM
Last modification on : Friday, April 29, 2022 - 3:35:53 AM

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  • HAL Id : tel-03653915, version 1

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Monique Jo Beerli. Saving the saviors : an international political sociology of the professionalization of humanitarian security. Political science. Institut d'études politiques de Paris - Sciences Po; Université de Genève, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017IEPP0033⟩. ⟨tel-03653915⟩

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