Between nationalism and humanitarianism: The glocal discourse on refugees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The public and researchers alike view global/humanitarian and local/ national logics as based on different, and even contradictory, regimes of justification. In this paper, however, I argue that these logics are complementary in the case of refugees. By asking 'who is a refugee?' within the Israeli case study, I empirically ground the claim that nationalism and humanitarianism should be grasped as Glocal. Content analysis of the Israeli case reveals how the Israeli establishment 'translates' the universal notion of humanitarianism. Humanitarian discourse does not offer an answer to the refugee problem by invoking a universal identity, nor is it just a euphemism for particularistic interests. On the contrary, the humanitarian logic is in fact based on the national order, and does not attempt to replace it. The political meaning of the term 'refugee' is an endless transcription of the national logic, and thus cannot be cosmopolitan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-205
Number of pages21
JournalNations and Nationalism
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Humanitarianism
  • Israel and glocality
  • Nationalism
  • Palestinians
  • Refugees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations


Dive into the research topics of 'Between nationalism and humanitarianism: The glocal discourse on refugees'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this