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Humanitarian futures? Practices and imaginaries of diaspora emergency relief in Africa and its socio-technical infrastructures 
Nauja Kleist (Danish Institute for International Studies)
Jethro Norman (DIIS)
Stephen Lubkemann (The George Washington University)
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Thabani Mutambasere (University of Edinburgh)
Anthropology (x) Disaster & Adversity (environmental & health crisis) (y)
Neues Seminargebäude, Seminarraum 15
Friday 2 June, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

What futures emerge from humanitarianisms that are increasingly diasporic? This panel explores diaspora responses to disasters - whose mobilisation of social imaginaries and socio-technical infrastructures challenge humanitarian hegemonies while reformulating African "aid-engaged futurities".

Long Abstract:

Is the future of humanitarianism in Africa diasporic? In the face of the mounting critical scrutiny of international aid, the search for new alternatives has drawn attention to the relief activities of diaspora groups and individuals. This panel investigates if and how diasporan aid differs - in its organization, objectives, impacts, and capacity, with respect to scale and speed, and across and within socio-political, spatial, and temporal contexts. Investigating how diasporans are invested in the places and people whose crises they respond to, we seek to unpack the broader implications of this phenomenon while exploring how these alternatives relate to material and socio-technical infrastructures that facilitate and shape assistance, from the ubiquitous mobile phone to transnational logistics companies and international or informal financial networks.

The panel critically interrogates the future of humanitarianism across the continent that has become associated with "aid" by highlighting the perspectives of emergent alternatives to the humanitarian status quo that are being imagined within and embodied by African diaspora groups and individuals who are deploying novel visions and "assistance imaginaries" . It will explore how these processes inform futurities in Africa in multiple ways, including the future role and meaning of a long-entrenched humanitarian enterprise as it confronts diasporan alternatives; the ways in which diasporan alternatives both draw upon and contribute to the forging of new imaginaries of social collectivity and moral community; and the roles of socio-technical infrastructure in underwriting these possibilities at all levels. Methodological and conceptual interventions are very welcome.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Friday 2 June, 2023, -
Session 2 Friday 2 June, 2023, -