Subjectivity Without Subjects

Didier Fassin

in Humanitarian Reason

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780520271166
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950481 | DOI:
Subjectivity Without Subjects

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This chapter presents a study on Médecins Sans Frontières and Médecins du Monde assistance programs in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to analyze the transformation of the status of witnesses in humanitarianism. Humanitarian workers, on the basis of a moral imperative, are increasingly taking on the role of witness for those they assist and thus end up as spokespeople for the oppressed in order to make their suffering public. The process of humanitarian subjectivation has found psychiatry a key tool for giving form to the experience of victims of war, disaster, and famine. The presence of mental health specialists in Médecins Sans Frontières and Médecins du Monde in their Palestinain missions where the health services are fairly equipped indicates their aim to expose the consequences of a humanitarian crisis. The massive overrepresentation of young men among the Palestinians who fought and died during the Second Intifada and the prevalence of enuresis in them is also discussed.

Keywords: Médecins Sans Frontières; Médecins du Monde; Israeli-Palestinian conflict; humanitarian subjectivation; Second Intifada; witnessess in humanitarianism

Chapter.  10454 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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