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The Masculinities of Humanitarianism: Gendering Humanitarian Policy and Practice

In this lecture Lewis Turner will reflect on the gendered nature of humanitarian work and will challenge the dominant perspective as humanitarian work as feminine.

In contrast to military interventions, humanitarian work is often understood as ‘softer’ and more ‘benign.’ While there is much talk of ‘military masculinities,’ humanitarian work, which focuses on care, is often thought of as feminised.

In this talk, Lewis Turner will challenge this way of seeing humanitarianism. Through exploring the policies and priorities of European donors and NGOs, and the performances of humanitarianism on the ground in the Syria response, he argues that humanitarian work is a masculinised enterprise. Re-thinking the gendered nature of humanitarian aid allows us a different lens through which to view donor politics, as well as NGO work with refugees in the Middle East, Europe, and elsewhere.


About the speaker

Lewis Turner is a post-doctoral researcher working on the Syria refugee response in the Middle East. He has a particular focus on questions of gender (especially men and masculinities), race, work, labour markets and encampment. His work has appeared in numerous peer-review journals, including International Feminist Journal of Politics, Mediterranean Politics, and Middle East Critique; and has won multiple prizes: from the British International Studies Association, the Feminist Theory and Gender Studies section of the International Studies Association, and the Political Studies Association.