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:

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Humanitarian reason is embedded in Western societies for historical and religious reasons and the constitution of life as sacred and the valorization of suffering have also made contemporary humanitarian government a form of political theology. Western societies have also witnessed a paradigm shift of romantic engagement with the world from the figure of the volunteer risking his or her life alongside liberation movements to the figure of the humanitarian saving lives in areas devastated by fighting. The humanitarian government is considered both a politics of life and a politics of suffering and the book considered this duality in all its chapters. Equivalence of lives and equivalence of suffering is also the central issue in the chapter related to the humanitarian exception declared in Venezuela wherein the poor and the wealthy were presumed equal in the face of natural disaster and in the case of humanitarian organizations' decision to stay in Iraq which exposed their members to the bombing just as the inhabitants of Baghdad.

Keywords: humanitarian reason; valorization of suffering; humanitarian government; politics of life; politics of suffering

Chapter.  6673 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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