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Although Southern-led development initiatives have enjoyed increasing attention by academics in recent years, there remains a relative paucity of research on South–South humanitarian responses. It is this gap in theoretical and conceptual engagement with ‘Other’ humanitarianism(s) which is critically addressed in this paper. The paper affirms the value of what we refer to as ‘writing the "Other" into humanitarian discourse,’ thereby redressing the biases inherent to much humanitarian theory. It re-engages with popular debates around politics and humanitarianism to argue that politics pervades not just humanitarian practice, but the ‘humanitarian’ epithet itself, and that by re-appropriating the label we are promoting a lexical counter-politics that serves to confront the institutionalisation of this Northern appropriation of the term in contemporary systems of knowledge and practice.

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Working paper


Refugee Studies Centre

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