This dissertation analyzes recent attempts to devise rules and regulations to govern humanitarian action. Specifically, it asks: What drives humanitarian organizations to collectively regulate their principles, practices, and policies? Self-regulation, or self-organized attempts at collective action within direct state intervention, is a recent global phenomenon, affecting both the for- and non-profit worlds. In humanitarianism alone, there are now dozens of codes of conduct and other mechanisms that implicate all manner of humanitarian practice, from principles to aid provision. This research focuses on four key self-regulatory projects: the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief; the Sphere Project; HAP International; and the Code of Conduct on Images and Messages.Contrary to the widespread view that firms regulate for branding and competitive reasons, this study finds that principled reasons better account for the origins of these initiatives. Specifically, it shows that self-regulation has emerged out of a crisis of legitimacy in the humanitarian sector, whereby aid veterans concluded that good intentions were no longer enough as a basis for action. As Rwanda demonstrated, good intentions can lead to terrible outcomes. Through self-regulation, aid workers have sought to shift humanitarianism's ideational foundations from charity and good deeds to professionalism, technical standards, and human rights. Contestations over self-regulation, in turn, derive from different understandings of humanitarianism - of its meanings and know-how.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2012. Major: Political Science. Advisor: Michael N. Barnett. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 287 pages.
Kennedy, Denis V.F..
Codified compassion: politics and principles in humanitarian governance.
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