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Title: Calculating compassion : the 'New Humanitarian' ethos in England 1870-1918
Author: Gill, R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2689 2609
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis investigates the emergence of the field of humanitarian intervention in war. From negative connotations of 'excessive sentimentalism' in the late eighteenth / early nineteenth centuries, this thesis charts the rise of more positive notions of rational and humane gift giving in the 1870-1918 period. To investigate this shift, it focuses on the strategies of representation relief workers used to signify their benevolent, but strictly calculated, intentions. Inspired by Bourdieu's 'correspondence analysis', it also maps the affiliations between rival relief organisations and wider journalistic, academic and political networks. In particular, it traces the transformation of initially ad hoc and independent relief practices into increasingly institutionalised, quasi-official humanitarian agencies. These are assessed in correspondence with the rise of an initially dissenting, but latterly more mainstream, politics of sentiment. In doing so, it considers the multi-faceted relationship between humanitarianism and the state in this period and the changing concept of 'moral' citizenship in the context of an expanding electorate and unprecedented transformations in the nature of warfare. This concept of citizenship apparently offered a form of belonging to those on the margins of political participation free from clientage; however, the emerging definition of 'moral' citizenship was far from inclusive. The boundaries to this politics of sentiment form a key theme of this thesis. This thesis is organised into two parts. The first traces the development of the field of humanitarian intervention in foreign wars of the late nineteenth century, and the alternative relief practices adopted by Quaker, liberal interventionist and quasi-military agencies. The following part examines how Britain's experience of modem war in the early twentieth century brought to the fore inherent dilemmas within these alternative philosophies of humanitarian intervention. It shows how, during times when the links between the state and ostensibly impartial relief agencies assumed an official status, illusionary strategies were deployed to obscure this relationship. These included a stress on the 'spontaneity' of humanitarian outcry, the feminisation of fund raising images and the maintenance of a 'screen' of voluntarism. In order to counter the emphasis on institutional history in the historiography of humanitarianism, this thesis considers the archives of relief organisations in conjunction with the personal accounts and novels of relief workers and sources covering their wider journalistic, political and academic networks
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available