New Humanitarianism: Does it Provide a Moral Banner for the 21st Century


Fox, Fiona. 2001. "New Humanitarianism: Does it Provide a Moral Banner for the 21st Century?" Disasters 25 (4): 275-289.

Author: Fiona Fox


There is a 'new humanitarianism' for the new millennium. It is 'principled', 'human-rights based' and politically sensitive. Above all it is new. It marks a break from the past and a rejection of the traditional principles that guided humanitarianism through the last century. New humanitarians reject the political naivety of the past, assess the long-term political impact of relief and are prepared to see humanitarian aid used as a tool to achieve human rights and political goals. New Humanitarianism is compelling, in tune with our times and offers a new moral banner for humanitarians to cling to as we enter the new millennium. Or does it? After outlining the key elements of new humanitarianism, including the human rights approach and developmental relief, the paper spells out some of the dangers. The author claims that new humanitarianism results in an overt politicisation of aid in which agencies themselves use relief as a tool to achieve wider political goals. The paper shows how this approach has spawned a new conditionality which allowsfor aid to be withheld and has produced a moral hierarchy of victims in which some are more deserving than others. The paper concludes with a plea for a revival of the principle of universalism as the first step to a new set of principles.

Topics: Development, Humanitarian Assistance, Rights, Human Rights

Year: 2001

The Political Economy of the Creeping Militarization of US Foreign Policy


Coyne, Christopher. 2011. “The Political Economy of the Creeping Militarization of US Foreign Policy.” Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy 17 (1): 1-25.

Author: Christopher Coyne


This paper analyzes the political economy of the creeping militarization of U.S. foreign policy. The core argument is that in integrating the "3D" approach‚ (defense, development, and diplomacy) policymakers have assigned responsibilities to military personnel which go beyond their comparative advantage, requiring them to become social engineers tasked with constructing entire societies. Evidence from The U.S. Army Stability Operations Field Manual is presented to illustrate the wide scope of responsibilities assigned to the U.S. military. The tools of political economy are used to analyze some of the implications.

Keywords: 3D approach, US military, foreign policy, U.S. foreign policy, militarization

Topics: Development, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarization, Political Economies Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2011

Toward Freedom from Domestic Violence: The Neglected Obvious


Agarwal, Bina, and Pradeep Panda. 2007. “Toward Freedom from Domestic Violence: The Neglected Obvious.” Journal of Human Development and Capabilities 8 (3): 359-88.

Authors: Bina Agarwal, Pradeep Panda


Freedom is a key concept in Amartya Sen’s definitions of capabilities and development. This paper focuses on a serious and neglected form of unfreedom — domestic violence — and argues that freedom from such violence must be integral to evaluating developmental progress. Conceptually, it notes that a person’s well-being can depend not only on absolute measures of capabilities and functionings but also on relative capabilities and functionings within families; and this can even lead to perverse effects. A man married to a woman better employed than himself, for instance, may be irked by her higher achievement and physically abuse her, thus reducing her well-being achievement (e.g. by undermining her health) and her well-being freedom (e.g. by reducing her work mobility or social interaction). Empirically the paper focuses especially on a hitherto unexplored factor — a woman’s property status — and demonstrates that owning a house or land significantly reduces her risk of marital violence. Employment, by contrast, unless it is regular, makes little difference. Immovable property provides a woman economic and physical security, enhances her self-esteem, and visibly signals the strength of her fall-back position and tangible exit option. It can both deter violence and provide an escape if violence occurs. Also unlike employment, property ownership is not found to be associated with perverse outcomes, in that a propertied woman married to a propertyless man is not subject to greater violence.

Keywords: domestic violence, women's property status, capabilities and functions, freedom, well-being

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights, Violence

Year: 2007

Promoting Gender Equality Through Development: Land Ownership and Domestic Violence in Nicaragua


Arenas, Carlos, and Shelly Grabe. 2009. “Promoting Gender Equality Through Development: Land Ownership and Domestic Violence in Nicaragua.” Working Paper, Gender, Development, and Globalization Program, Center for Gender in Global Context, Michigan State University, East Lansing.

Authors: Carlos Arenas, Shelly Grabe


This study takes into account global debates surrounding women’s role in development and how access to resources impacts the structures that perpetuate gender inequalities. For example, scholars have argued that women’s ownership of and control over resources are linked to gender-based violence. This paper provides a theoretical framework for, and an examination of, the role of land ownership in women’s empowerment and receipt of domestic violence that has been posed in the literature but never empirically tested. Household surveys conducted in rural Nicaragua reveal that land ownership is directly related to women’s status and power within the marital relationship and to their empowerment and psychological well-being, each of which explained why and how owning land contributed to lower levels of domestic violence. The findings have important implications for the discussion of gender-based violence in the context of development involving land resources, as well as for initiatives that can improve women’s well-being and lead to more equitable policies for women.

Keywords: development, domestic violence, gender empowerment, gender relations, women's land rights, gender violence


  • Bina Agarwal (1994) first put forward the connection between property ownership and domestic violence, but since then, very little empirical investigation has been done to advance this research. This paper investigates how women’s land ownership is related to domestic violence and how it is not simply about owning land, rather it is the process that develops as a result of women’s altered status within the household that has the critical bearing on their receipt of violence.
  • The article is significant both because it is the only paper on land rights and domestic violence with a geographic focus of Latin America, and because it contributes to our empirical understanding of the connection between women’s land rights and incidence of domestic violence.
  • Systemic differences in land rights between men and women create structural inequalities that may contribute to the alarmingly high rates of domestic violence for women. It discusses how women’s land ownership challenges power and gender relations.


[The authors] specifically aimed to test whether land ownership would result in a shift in traditional gender ideology, a shift in intra-household gender relations, and an increase in women’s empowerment and psychological well-being, thereby curbing levels of domestic violence.” (2)

“Processes involved in owning and controlling land can transform the conditions in which women can exercise agency and, in turn, be empowered to confront aspects of their subordination.” (2)

“Throughout Latin America, and in Nicaragua in particular, domestic violence has been recognized as a public health problem with national prevalence estimates indicating that between 28 and 69 percent of women in Nicaragua report experiences of domestic violence.” (1)

“Land issues—who owns and controls land use—are issues of power and dominance [and] entrenched inequalities in the distribution of power and resources between women and men create a risk environment that supports high levels of gender-based violence”(3)

"Argues that land ownership is a material basis, or structural inequality, that contributes to the subordination of, and violence against, women. Women’s role as landowners therefore challenges these gendered power relations." (3)

"Because ownership of property among women substantially challenges traditional gender roles, it increases women’s power and influence within the household and, in turn, provides a stronger base for women’s empowerment. Moreover, it is not merely possessing the title to a plot of land, but the control or administration of it that contributes to change." (4)

“While benefits of several forms of land ownership are possible (e.g., cooperative farming arrangements), it is important to note that women’s effective rights to land (i.e., women functioning independently as decision makers with control over the land) are best insured with individual titles.” (4)

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Nicaragua

Year: 2009

Land, Dowry, Labour: Women in the Changing Economy of Midnapur


Gupta, Jayoti. 1993. “Land, Dowry, Labour: Women in the Changing Economy of Midnapur.” Social Scientist 21 (9-11): 74-90.

Author: Jayoti Gupta

Keywords: dowry, gender, gender roles, womens rights, women's land rights


  • This paper explores the situation of women returning to their homes and communities after their countries have experienced major conflicts. In that context, it assesses the range of barriers and challenges that women face and offers some thinking to address and remedy these complex issues.  As countries face the transition process, they can begin to measure the conflict’s impact on the population and the civil infrastructure.  Not only have people been displaced from their homes, but, typically, health clinics, schools, roads, businesses, and markets have deteriorated substantially.  While the focus is on humanitarian aid in the midst of and during the immediate aftermath, the focus turns to development-based activities for the longer-term.
  • Development activities provide a significant opportunity to ensure that gender is central to the transitional process. Here we take gender centrality to be a first principle of response – namely planning, integrating and placing gender at the heart of the development response to conflict.  First, many of the post-conflict goals cannot be implemented when the population is starving, homeless, and mistrustful of government-sponsored services.  Women constitute the overwhelming proportion of refugees misplaced by war; not responding to their specific needs to return home dooms the reconstruction process.  Second, women are central to any socioeconomic recovery process.
  • This paper looks at the need to integrate development and post-conflict, and then turns to an analysis of why gender matters.  It then looks at the development as both a short and long-term process, using the model of “social services justice” to describe immediate needs as the country begins the peace stabilization process.  Social services justice serves as an “engendered” bridge between conflict and security, running the temporal spectrum from humanitarian relief through post conflict to longer-term development, any of which is inclusive of transitional justice.  The goal throughout is to respond to the immediate needs of the population post-conflict, ranging from livelihoods to health to education.

Topics: Development, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Economies, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Livelihoods, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Land Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 1993

Mind the Gap: Where Feminist Theory Failed to Meet Development Practice - A Missed Opportunity in Bosnia and Herzegovina


Walsh, Martha. 1998. "Mind the Gap: Where Feminist Theory Failed to Meet Development Practice - A Missed Opportunity in Bosnia and Herzegovina." European Journal of Women's Studies 5 (3): 329-43.

Author: Martha Walsh

Topics: Development, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Europe, Balkans Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 1998

The Relief-Development Continuum: Some Notes on Rethinking Assistance for Civilian Victims of Conflict


Sollis, Peter. 1994. "The Relief-Development Continuum: Some Notes on Rethinking Assistance for Civilian Victims of Conflict." Journal of International Affairs 47 (2): 451-71.

Author: Peter Sollis


Humanitarian assistance is being reconceptualized in terms of a continuum from relief to development. The new thinking should also reflect issues of beneficiary participation, gender and the distinction between poverty and vulnerability. For example, policies directed toward alleviating poverty may increase vulnerability by altering traditional practices. Furthermore, the special needs of women and children, who make up the majority of refugees, should be taken into account. Beneficiaries are most empowered by being included in the planning of projects, but organizations have not reached consensus over the appropriate level or timing of participation.

Topics: Development, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Women, Girls, Boys, Humanitarian Assistance

Year: 1994

The Payoff From Women’s Rights


Coleman, Isobel. 2004. “The Payoff From Women’s Rights.” Foreign Affairs 83 (3): 80-95.

Author: Isobel Coleman


Over the past decade, significant research has demonstrated what many have known for a long time: women are critical to economic development, active civil society, and good governance, especially in developing countries. Focusing on women is often the best way to reduce birth rates and child mortality, improve health, nutrition, and education, stem the spread of HIV/AIDS, build robust and self-sustaining community organizations, and encourage grassroots democracy. Much like human rights a generation ago, women's rights were long considered too controversial for mainstream foreign policy. For decades, international development agencies skirted gender issues in highly patriarchal societies. Now, however, they increasingly see women's empowerment as critical to their mandate. 

Keywords: economic development, women's rights, community health, gender issues, womens empowerment

Topics: Civil Society, Democracy / Democratization, Development, Economies, Education, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Governance, Health, HIV/AIDS, International Organizations, Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 2004

Human Trafficking and Development: The Role of Microfinance


Getu, Makonen. 2006. "Human Trafficking and Development: The Role of Microfinance." Transformation 23 (3): 142-56.

Author: Makonen Getu

Keywords: economics, Africa, microfinance, human trafficking, armed conflict


  • Getu argues for the use of microfinance in combating human trafficking, as “the overwhelming majority of the employment and income opportunities it offers go primarily to women who constitute 70-80% of trafficked persons” (155).
  • In setting up his argument, Getu outlines the main causes of human trafficking, including armed conflict. In this brief section, he focuses primarily on Africa where there has been a widespread recruitment of child soldiers due to the large amount of armed conflicts in Sub-Sarahan Africa.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Development, Economies, Humanitarian Assistance, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Trafficking, Human Trafficking Regions: Africa

Year: 2006

Modern-Day Slavery? The Scope of Trafficking in Persons in Africa


Fitzgibbon, Kathleen. 2003. "Modern-Day Slavery? The Scope of Trafficking in Persons in Africa." African Security Studies 12 (1): 81-9.

Author: Kathleen Fitzgibbon


Hundreds of thousands of African men, women and children are being forced into situations of labour and sexual exploitation both on the continent and abroad every year. Internationally, trafficking in persons has been identified as a serious threat to human security and development by governments, pressure groups and the UN. But for many African governments, the problem has only recently been acknowledged. This article, the first in a two-part series on the issue, outlines the types and extent of trafficking in Africa, with a focus on West and Central Africa. Contributing factors, in particular the high profit margins and low risk of arrest and conviction, are reviewed as well as the impact on human rights, public health, community and family development and the growth of organized crime. The second article in the series will consider successful strategies and international programmes, with a focus on the lessons learned for Africa from West Africa. 

Keywords: child soldiers, conflict, internally displaced people, Africa, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, organized crime


  • Fitzgibbon makes note that civil unrest and internal armed conflict are often to blame for human trafficking in Africa, as populations grow increasingly vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, and trafficking when they are destabilized and displaced. She points to such examples as the Sudanese civil war, the Lord’s Resistance Army, and civil wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Congo-Brazzaville, the DRC, Uganda, Somalia, and Sudan, all of which involve the abduction of men, women, and children for combat, forced labor, and/or sexual exploitation.   

Topics: Armed Conflict, Development, Gender, Women, Men, Girls, Boys, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Rights, Human Rights, Security, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual Slavery, Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Africa, Central Africa, West Africa

Year: 2003


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