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  • The Humanitarian Complex and Challenges to the Justice Cascade: The Case of Ireland

    Joachim J. Savelsberg

    Chapter from the book: Savelsberg, J. 2015. Representing Mass Violence: Conflicting Responses to Human Rights Violations in Darfur.


    This chapter examines a country with a strong humanitarian-aid orientation. Ireland illustrates the notion of a humanitarian complex—a close network of state, Catholic Church, and aid NGOs—rooted in policy practices and the collective memory of poverty and famine, as well as support for amnesties in the context of politically motivated violence in the Northern Ireland conflict. Like in the case of MSF, the representation of mass violence in Darfur takes a particular shape, one in which aspects of suffering are stressed that can be addressed by humanitarian-aid programs and in which the responsibility of the government of Sudan is downplayed. The crime frame and the genocide label are used cautiously. This pattern, identified through interviews, is confirmed by media analysis. The causal mechanism is the same as for humanitarian NGOs, given the government of Sudan’s role as a crucial gatekeeper for the delivery of aid. Globalization theory is partially challenged, while neo-Weberian stress on national carrier groups and cultural sensitivities are strongly supported.

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    Savelsberg, J. 2015. The Humanitarian Complex and Challenges to the Justice Cascade: The Case of Ireland. In: Savelsberg, J, Representing Mass Violence. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.4.f

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on Aug. 27, 2015