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Between Samaritans and StatesThe Political Ethics of Humanitarian INGOs$
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Jennifer Rubenstein

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199684106

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684106.001.0001

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A Map of Humanitarian INGO Political Ethics

A Map of Humanitarian INGO Political Ethics

(p.51) 3 A Map of Humanitarian INGO Political Ethics
Between Samaritans and States

Jennifer C. Rubenstein

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 offers a “map” of three central features of humanitarian INGOs’ ethical and political terrain: that they sometimes engage in governance functions, albeit to a limited degree; that they are highly political, even when they do not intend to be, and that they are often “second-best” actors, in particular compared to domestic governments and NGOs. Chapter 3 argues that this map is not only more descriptively accurate than the eight approaches to conceptualizing and normatively evaluating humanitarian INGOs discussed in the previous chapter, it also highlights more important considerations. The last section shows how this map provides a basis for recognizing and conceptualizing four key ethical predicaments that humanitarian INGOs regularly face.

Keywords:   second-best actor, governance, political, discursive power, map, humanitarian, basic services, unintended negative effects, resource distribution, moral permissionethical predicament, NGO, Haiti

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