Reluctant cosmopolitanism: Perceptions management and the performance of humanitarian principles

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Following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, humanitarian organizations grew increasingly preoccupied with the ways in which people in the field perceive them. In order to address the blurring of lines between military and humanitarian interventions, they undertook perceptions studies and enhanced their networking and field communication capacities, thereby turning the monitoring and management of local perceptions into a knowledge-based and more systematic endeavor. This article examines the conjunctures that have turned the views of so-called stakeholders into a strategic issue for contemporary humanitarianism. Based on an analysis of the rise of perceptions management, it demonstrates just how indebted the humanitarian hold over emergency zones is to political technologies that analyze the arenas in which humanitarian actors operate in order to make them more hospitable and responsive to humanitarian efforts.
Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)255-272
Number of pages18
JournalHumanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016


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