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Paternalism beyond Borders

$34.99 (P)

Henry S. Richardson, Didier Fassin, John M. Hobson, David Chandler, Séverine Autesserre, Aisling Swaine, Sally Engle Merry, Vibhuti Ramachandran, Stephen Hopgood, Ilana Feldman, Michael N. Barnett
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  • Date Published: November 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316625712

$ 34.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Nearly all of those who want to make the world a better place are engaged in paternalism. This book asks how power is intertwined with practices of global compassion. It argues that the concept of paternalism illuminates how care and control are involved in the everyday practices of humanitarianism, human rights, development and other projects designed to improve the lives of others. The authors explore whether and how the paternalism of the nineteenth century differs from the paternalism of today, and offer a provocative look at the power in global ethics, raising the question of whether, when, and how paternalism can be justified.

    • Proposes a new way of thinking about humanitarian interference, appealing to those looking for a way to understand the inherent dilemmas in humanitarian action
    • Offers a new way of thinking about whether and how interference in the lives of others is and can be justified through the concept of paternalism
    • Asks the tough questions about when interference in the lives of others can be justified
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'We all want to end world poverty and misery. But who is this 'we,' and who put us in charge? This brilliant volume shows how the humanitarian movement, despite progress against the old racism and colonialism, remains too often oblivious to who has the power and who does not. As a result, it argues, paternalism is alive and well. The logic of humanitarian action can overwhelm the best of anti-paternalist intentions. The volume offers no easy answers but it will leave the reader with a greatly enriched understanding of the values of dignity and autonomy for every individual everywhere.' William Easterly, New York University

    'Humanitarians use their resources and expertise to try to do what they see as good in the world, but sometimes bulldoze over the preferences and customs of the people they want to help.  Michael N. Barnett's crew of knowledgeable contributors illuminates their penetrating ethical analysis with real dilemmas that aid professionals face in Congo, Darfur, Gaza and other zones of conflict or abuse. Few books on any topic are as effective in breathing life into serious normative analysis through subtly contextualized case studies.' Jack Snyder, Columbia University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316625712
    • length: 342 pages
    • dimensions: 232 x 155 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.51kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    About the contributors
    Part I. The Boundaries of Paternalism:
    1. Only in the ballpark of paternalism: arrogance and liberty limitation in international humanitarian aid Henry S. Richardson
    2. Rethinking paternalism: the meaning of gender and sex in the politics of asylum Didier Fassin
    Part II. Paternalism, Old and New:
    3. Eurocentric pitfalls and paradoxes of international paternalism: decolonizing liberal humanitarianism 2.0 John M. Hobson
    4. The new international paternalism: international regimes David Chandler
    Part III. The Social Relations of Paternalism:
    5. Paternalism and peacebuilding: capacity, knowledge, and resistance in international intervention Séverine Autesserre
    6. Enabling or disabling paternalism: (in)attention to gender and women's knowledge, capacity and authority in humanitarian contexts Aisling Swaine
    7. The limits of consent: sex trafficking and the problem of international paternalism Sally Engle Merry and Vibhuti Ramachandran
    8. Modernity at the cutting edge: human rights meets FGM Stephen Hopgood
    9. Humanitarian refusals: Palestinian refugees and ethnographic perspectives on paternalism Ilana Feldman
    Conclusion. The world according to paternalism Michael N. Barnett

  • Editor

    Michael N. Barnett, George Washington University, Washington DC
    Michael N. Barnett is University Professor of International Affairs and Political Science at George Washington University. His research interests include the Middle East, humanitarian action, global governance, global ethics, and the United Nations. His most recent book is The Star and the Stripes: A History of the Foreign Policies of American Jews (2016).


    Henry S. Richardson, Didier Fassin, John M. Hobson, David Chandler, Séverine Autesserre, Aisling Swaine, Sally Engle Merry, Vibhuti Ramachandran, Stephen Hopgood, Ilana Feldman, Michael N. Barnett

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