Book Review: International Organizations and Civilian Protection: Power, Ideas and Humanitarian Aid

By examining the case studies of Sri Lanka and the Philippines, this book investigates and analyses the major factors that affect the characteristics of the humanitarian intervention and relief activities of five international organisations – United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Save the Children, OXFAM, and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).


Book Review International Organizations and Civilian Protection Power Ideas and Humanitarian Aid

In specific, the author attempts to examine the following hypotheses: international organisation that “face greater material demands and inducement from powerful donors or that compete harder for scarce funds are less proactive on civilian protection”and “whose prevailing beliefs and norms privilege state sovereignty or whose bureaucratic culture and identity are more resistant to change will be less proactive on civilian protection”.In the author’s analysis, power and idea (that are considered as the principle of rationalists whoare seeking to discover the universal principles or conditions in international relations primarily based on an assumption of the rationality of actorsas well as scientific methods and culturalists who stressthe importance of people’s perception and belief, andthe interpretation of events respectively) are identified as two chief variables influencing the international organisations’ behaviour. While general academic awareness on humanitarian activities predominantly has maintained the state-centred argument, the book mainly deemed that those five international organisations embraced the leading roles in civilian protection.

The first three chapters in this book discuss conceptual and theoretical issues. It firstly refers to the problem that the humanitarianism of international organisations has been in the shadow of the powers and the ideas, and it would weight to progressive structural theories in Introduction, Chapters 1 and 2. In addition, this work attempts to supplement the Third Debate of International Relations theory and to apply the IR theory to the practical field bases. It is mentioned that the qualitative methodology would be employed throughout the writing in Chapter 3.


*Published in Journal of Conflict Transformation & Security (JCTS) Vol. 2 | No. 1
© Copyright 2012 by CESRAN
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