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Duffield, Mark
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
DIIS Working Paper 2013:23
This working paper explores the rise of cyber-humanitarianism, that is, the increasing reliance of remote and smart Net-based technologies in humanitarian management. It does this by charting how the understanding of disaster has shifted from modernist concerns to protect from external disaster events to present-day attempts to modulate internal social and economic processes that strengthen the disaster-resilience of vulnerable populations. The paper argues that resilience, reflecting its conversation with neoliberalism, has a double-truth structure. In response to increased perceptions of risk, far from embracing future uncertainty as aid policy advocates, aid managers are reducing their own exposure by retreating into gated aid-complexes. Where resilience is applied to international aid workers, it focuses on narcissistic and subjective forms of care-of-the self, now an essential characteristic of life in the bunker. In overcoming the growing problem of access denial and remoteness within disaster zones, cyber-humanitarianism is explored in terms of its overcoming terrestrial barriers while simultaneously making possible hyper-bunkered forms of aid management driven by an uncritical technological-determinist vision of modulating the moods, expectations and actions of remote disaster-affected populations. The paper makes special reference to the genealogy of the refugee camp and illustrates the development of machine-thinking with reference to Sudan's Darfur crisis.
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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