Ibreck, Rachel. 2016. Memory. In: Tim Allen; Anna Macdonald and Henry Radice, eds. Humanitarianism: a dictionary of concepts. Routledge: Routledge. ISBN 9781857432817 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Memory leads to a reconsideration of ethical and practical questions at the core of humanitarianism. Political actors employ selective memory to construct exclusionary definitions of humanity, and humanitarians must be prepared to actively confront these and to promote inclusive processes of remembrance. Humanitarian law and standards prescribe an obligation to treat the dead with dignity even in the midst of conflict and crisis, yet too often the dead are simply regarded as a public health concern, and mourning is left to bereaved local communities or caring individuals. Humanitarian agencies rightly prioritize saving lives and alleviating suffering, but this work has sometimes been undermined by political amnesia and social distance. This chapter highlights that humanitarian participation in cosmopolitan communities of memory and mourning is also a significant contribution to the recognition and realization of a common humanity.

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Date Deposited:

11 Oct 2018 10:31

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:54


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