Käte Hamburger Lecture

Humanitarianism's Contested Culture: Pollyanna Is Not a Role Model

5 June 2014

Embedded in the conference "Humanitarianism and Changing Cultures of Cooperation", the 9th Käte Hamburger Lecture on 5th June 2014 with Prof. Thomas G. Weiss (City University New York) addressed the topic "Contested Culture of Humanitarianism". Weiss analyzed the processes of militarization, politicization and marketization, which question the narrative of the humanitarian as the Good Samaritan.

Humanitarians are no longer simply seen as selfless angels. Their motivations and mastery, their principles and products are questioned from within and from without. Understanding the ongoing transformations in contemporary humanitarianism requires examining the nature and evolution of humanitarian culture away from an agreed culture of cooperation to a contested one of competition. The latter reflects militarization, politicization, and marketization. What is required is a learning culture for practitioners and a consequentialist ethics more oriented to responsible reflection than rapid reaction.

Dennis Dijkzeul, Executive Director of the Institute of International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict and Professor of Conflict and Organization Research at Ruhr University Bochum
David Chandler, Professor of International Relations at University of Westminster

Dr Silke Weinlich, Head of Research Unit 1 "The (im)Possibility of Cooperation" at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21)

Time: 19:00–20:30h
Venue: Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI), Goethestraße 31, 45128 Essen