The Politics of Crisis-Making
Forced Displacement and Cultures of Assistance in Lebanon
Published by: Indiana University Press
Traditionally, humanitarianism is considered a nonpolitical urgent response to human suffering. However, this characterization ignores the politics that create and are created by the crises and the increasingly long-term dimension of relief.
In The Politics of Crisis-Making, by shedding light on how humanitarian practice becomes enmeshed with diverse forms of welfare and development, Estella Carpi exposes how the politics of defining crises affect the social identity and membership of the displaced. Her ethnographic research in Lebanon brings to light interactions among aid workers, government officials, internally displaced citizens, migrants, and refugees after the 2006 war in Beirut's southern suburbs and during the 2011-2013 arrival of refugees from Syria to the Akkar District (northern Lebanon). By documenting different cultures, modalities, and traditions of assistance, Carpi offers a full account of how the politics of crisis-making play out in Lebanon.
An important read, The Politics of Crisis-Making shows that it is not crisis per se, but rather the crisis as official discourse and management that are able to reshuffle societies, while engendering unequal political, moral, and nationality-based economies.
Note to Reader
1. The Politics of Displacement in Lebanon
2. Lebanon's Assistance Landscape
3. Politicizing Aid and Moralizing Politics: Old Formulas, New Scenarios
4. Ethnocracies of Care and Order
5. Humanitarian Distances and the "Southist" Need to Be There
6. The Trojan Horses of Humanitarianism
Appendix: Key Dates in Lebanon's Political History
"A novel account of the politics of humanitarianism in Lebanon, especially in its choice to examine the lived experiences of both displaced citizens as well as migrants and refugees."~Kelsey Norman, author of Reluctant Reception
"This sensitive account of humanitarian responses to aging emergencies and repeated crises in Lebanon offers vital insights into the global and local politics of aid. Estella Carpi's careful ethnographic attention to the dynamics of aid provision reveals the complex ways people live with and against each other in humanitarian settings."~Ilana Feldman, George Washington University
"Carpi's book reminds us that displacement is not merely a humanitarian issue—as the crisis rubric wants us to think—but it entails class, race, and labor politics, all aspects that the humanitarian system does not aim to address yet acts on"~Sari Hanafi, American University of Beirut
"Estella Carpi provides a much needed and timely ethnography of humanitarianism in Lebanon. Her book is an excellent resource for scholars and practitioners who wish to understand how humanitarian crises are produced, enacted, managed and perpetuated in conflict-ridden environments through everyday discourses and practices"~Tamirace Fakhoury, Aalborg University and Sciences Po
"Focusing on the displacement of Lebanese citizens and the large-presence of refugees from Syria and other states, this stimulating book exposes the limitations of the established discourse on humanitarian emergencies and responses, and at the same time provides a groundbreaking conceptual and analytical framework that is of direct relevance to crises elsewhere in the world."~Jeff Crisp, University of Oxford