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Between Samaritans and States – The Political Ethics of Humanitarian INGOs - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Between Samaritans and States: The Political Ethics of Humanitarian INGOs

Jennifer Rubenstein


Large-scale, Western-based humanitarian INGOs, such as Oxfam and Doctors Without Borders, are often either celebrated as “do-gooding machines” or maligned as incompetents “on the road to hell.” Rejecting both of these characterizations, this book begins with a picture of humanitarian INGOs as a “mixed bag.” It then offers a “map” of humanitarian INGO political ethics based on this picture. Drawing on both original fieldwork and secondary literature, it argues that while humanitarian INGOs are often perceived as non-governmental and apolitical, they are in fact sometimes somewhat governmental a ... More

Keywords: humanitarian, development, NGO, ethics, politics, governance, compromise, Oxfam, Doctors without Borders

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780199684106
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684106.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jennifer Rubenstein, author
Assistant Professor, University of Virginia