Advertisement

NGO Economies of Affect: Humanitarianism and Childhood in Contemporary and Historical Perspective

  • Aviva SinervoEmail author
  • Kristen Cheney
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies on Children and Development book series (PSCD)

Abstract

Global humanitarian interventions on behalf of children often commodify forms of childhood “disadvantage,” defined as non-normative, endangered, and vulnerable. Such processes of commodification rely on circulating affects that are productive of, and produced by, universalized stereotypes of an “ideal” childhood. This chapter offers a political economic analysis that takes into account how affect is used strategically to create “childhood need” as a marketable product in the humanitarian and development fields. Considering how vulnerability is read through colonial and neoliberal categories of age, gender, race, and culture, we ask how affectively driven categories of childhood suffering are deployed in transnational humanitarian discourse. What gives such portraits of childhood their power, how do organizations use them, and what are the consequences for children, their families, and their communities? The chapter outlines a brief history of global and regional humanitarian movements and actions with regard to children’s well-being, noting how the lines between charity, humanitarian, development, and child protection work have historically been blurred. We close with a conceptual unpacking of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) as transnational actors and the moral underpinnings of their activities, as well as a discussion on why childhood is so easily utilized, idealized, and affectively framed within humanitarian discourse.

References

  1. Acharya, Poromesh. 1985. “Education: Politics and Social Structure.” Economic and Political Weekly 20 (42): 1785–89.Google Scholar
  2. Adams, Vincanne. 2013. Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith: New Orleans in the Wake of Katrina. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Adkins, Julie, Laurie Occhipinti, and Tara Hefferan, eds. 2010. Not by Faith Alone: Social Services, Social Justice, and Faith-based Organizations in the United States. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  4. Alanen, Leena, and Berry Mayall, eds. 2001. Conceptualizing Child-Adult Relations. New York: Routledge/Falmer.Google Scholar
  5. Alderson, Priscilla. 2015. The Politics of Childhoods Real and Imagined: Practical Application of Critical Realism and Childhood Studies. Abingdon: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ansell, Nicola. 2016. “‘Once Upon a Time …’: Orphanhood, Childhood Studies and the Depoliticisation of Childhood Poverty in Southern Africa.” Childhood 23 (2): 162–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ansell, Nicola. 2017. Children, Youth and Development, 2nd ed. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Balagopalan, Sarada. 2014. Inhabiting ‘Childhood’: Children, Labour and Schooling in Postcolonial India. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  9. Benthall, Jonathan. 1993. Disasters, Relief and the Media. London: I.B. Tauris.Google Scholar
  10. Benthall, Jonathan. 2016. Islamic Charities and Islamic Humanism in Troubled Times. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Biehl, João, and Adriana Petryna, eds. 2013. When People Come First: Critical Studies in Global Health. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Black, Maggie. 1996. Children First: The Story of UNICEF, Past and Present. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Bluebond-Langner, Myra, and Jill E. Korbin. 2007. “Challenges and Opportunities in the Anthropology of Childhoods: An Introduction to ‘Children, Childhoods, and Childhood Studies.’” American Anthropologist 109 (2): 241–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bornstein, Erica. 2001. “Child Sponsorship, Evangelism, and Belonging in the Work of World Vision Zimbabwe.” American Ethnologist 28 (3): 595–622.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bornstein, Erica, and Peter Redfield, eds. 2010. Forces of Compassion: Humanitarianism Between Ethics and Politics. Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research Press.Google Scholar
  16. Bourdillon, Michael, Deborah Levison, William Myers, and Ben White. 2010. Rights and Wrongs of Children’s Work. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Boyden, Jo, and Neil Howard. 2013. “Why Does Child Trafficking Policy Need to Be Reformed? The Moral Economy of Children’s Movement in Benin and Ethiopia.” Children’s Geographies 11 (3): 354–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Brautigam, Deborah. 2011. “Chinese Development Aid in Africa: What, Where, Why, and How Much?” In Rising China: Global Challenges and Opportunities, edited by Jane Golley and Ligang Song, 203–22. Canberra: Australian National University E-Press.Google Scholar
  19. Burman, Erica. 1994. “Innocents Abroad: Western Fantasies of Childhood and the Iconography of Emergencies.” Disasters 18 (3): 238–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Campoamor, Leigh. 2016. “‘Who Are You Calling Exploitative?’ Defensive Motherhood, Child Labor, and Urban Poverty in Lima, Peru.” Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 21 (1): 151–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cheney, Kristen E. 2007. Pillars of the Nation: Child Citizens and Ugandan National Development. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Cheney, Kristen E. 2010. “Deconstructing Childhood Vulnerability: An Introduction.” Childhood in Africa 2 (1): 4–7.Google Scholar
  23. Cheney, Kristen E. 2014. “Conflicting Protectionist and Empowerment Models of Children’s Rights: Their Consequences for Uganda’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children.” In Children’s Lives in an Era of Children’s Rights: The Progress of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Africa, edited by Afua Twum-Danso Imoh and Nicola Ansell, 17–33. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Cheney, Kristen E., and Karen Smith Rotabi. 2014. “Addicted to Orphans: How the Global Orphan Industrial Complex Jeopardizes Local Child Protection Systems.” In Conflict, Violence and Peace, edited by Christopher Harker, Kathrin Hörschelmann, and Tracey Skelton, 1–19. Singapore: Springer Science+Business Media.Google Scholar
  25. Comaroff, Jean, and John Comaroff. 1991. Of Revelation and Revolution: Christianity, Colonialism, and Consciousness in South Africa, vol. 1. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Compretta, Caroline Ellender. 2012. Growing Gaps: Children’s Experiences of Inequality in a Faith-based Afterschool Program in the U.S. South. University of Kentucky. Theses and Dissertations – Anthropology. https://uknowledge.uky.edu/anthro_etds/4.
  27. Cook, Daniel Thomas. 2009. “Children as Consumers.” In The Palgrave Handbook of Childhood Studies, edited by Jens Qvortrup, William A. Corsaro, and Michael-Sebastian Honig, 332–46. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  28. Dean, Carolyn. 2002. “Sketches of Childhood: Children in Colonial Andean Art and Society.” In Minor Omissions: Children in Latin American History and Society, edited by Tobias Hecht, 21–51. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  29. Duffield, Mark R. 2001. Global Governance and the New Wars: The Merging of Development and Security. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  30. Eickelkamp, Ute. 2011. “Introduction: Aboriginal Children and Young People in Focus.” In Growing Up in Central Australia: New Anthropological Studies of Aboriginal Childhood and Adolescence, edited by Ute Eickelkamp, 1–12. Oxford, UK: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  31. Ennew, Judith. 2002. “Future Generations and Global Standards: Children’s Rights at the Start of the Millennium.” In Exotic No More: Anthropology on the Front Lines, edited by Jeremy MacClancy, 338–50. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  32. Ennew, Judith, and Brian Milne. 1990. “The Declaration of the Rights of the Child.” In The Next Generation: The Lives of Third World Children, 16–80. Philadelphia, PA: New Society Publishers.Google Scholar
  33. Evans, Rosalind. 2007. “The Impact of Concepts of Childhood on Children’s Participation in Bhutanese Refugee Camps.” Children, Youth and Environments 17 (1): 148–74.Google Scholar
  34. Fassin, Didier. 2010. “Noli Me Tangere: The Moral Untouchability of Humanitarianism.” In Forces of Compassion: Humanitarianism Between Ethics and Politics, edited by Erica Bornstein and Peter Redfield, 35–52. Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research Press.Google Scholar
  35. Fassin, Didier. 2013. “Children as Victims: The Moral Economy of Childhood in the Times of AIDS.” In When People Come First: Critical Studies in Global Health, edited by João Biehl and Adriana Petryna, 109–32. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Feldman, Ilana. 2010. “Ad Hoc Humanity: Peacekeeping and the Limits of International Community in Gaza.” American Anthropologist 112 (3): 416–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ferguson, James. 2006. Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Fisher, William F. 1997. “Doing Good? The Politics and Anti-politics of NGO Practices.” Annual Review of Anthropology 26: 439–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Gibson-Graham, J. K. 2006. The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  40. Guy, Donna J. 2002. “The State, the Family, and Marginal Children in Latin America.” In Minor Omissions: Children in Latin American History and Society, edited by Tobias Hecht, 139–64. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  41. Halpern, Robert. 1999a. “After-school Programs for Low-income Children: Promise and Challenges.” The Future of Children: When School is Out 9 (2): 81–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Halpern, Robert. 1999b. Fragile Families, Fragile Solutions: A History of Supportive Services for Families in Poverty. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri. 2004. Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  44. Hecht, Tobias. 1998. At Home in the Street: Street Children of Northeast Brazil. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Hecht, Tobias. 2002. “Introduction.” In Minor Omissions: Children in Latin American History and Society, edited by Tobias Hecht, 3–20. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  46. Hilhorst, Dorothea. 2003. The Real World of NGOs: Discourses, Diversity and Development. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  47. Hochschild, Arlie. 2003. The Commercialization of Intimate Life: Notes from Home and Work. San Francisco: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  48. Hopkins, Lucy, and Arathi Sriprakash. 2016. “Unsettling the Global Child: Rethinking Child Subjectivity in Education and International Development.” In The ‘Poor Child’: The Cultural Politics of Education, Development and Childhood, edited by Lucy Hopkins and Arathi Sriprakash, 3–20. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  49. Hunleth, Jean. 2017. Children as Caregivers: The Global Fight Against Tuberculosis and HIV in Zambia. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. James, Allison. 1993. Childhood Identities: Self and Social Relationships in the Experience of Childhood. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Kydd, J. C. 1920. A History of Factory Legislation in India. Calcutta: Calcutta University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Lashaw, Amanda, Christian Vannier, and Steven Sampson, eds. 2017. Cultures of Doing Good: Anthropologists and NGOs. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press.Google Scholar
  53. Leinaweaver, Jessaca B. 2008. The Circulation of Children: Kinship, Adoption, and Morality in Andean Peru. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Lewis, David, and Nazneen Kanji. 2009. Non-governmental Organizations and Development. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Lewis, David, and David Mosse, eds. 2006. Development Brokers and Translators: The Ethnography of Aid and Agencies. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press.Google Scholar
  56. Liebel, Manfred. 2012. “Child-Led Organizations and the Advocacy of Adults: Experiences from Bangladesh and Nicaragua.” In Law and Childhood Studies: Current Legal Issues Volume 14, edited by Michael Freeman, 92–103. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Liefsen, Esben. 2009. “Adoption and the Governing of Child Welfare in 20th Century Quito.” Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 14 (1): 68–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Lieten, Georges K. 2002. “Child Labour in India: Disentangling Essence and Solutions.” Economic and Political Weekly 37 (52): 5190–95.Google Scholar
  59. Malkki, Liisa. 2010. “Children, Humanity, and the Infantilization of Peace.” In In the Name of Humanity: The Government of Threat and Care, edited by Ilana Feldman and Miriam Ticktin, 58–85. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Malkki, Liisa. 2015. The Need to Help: The Domestic Arts of International Humanitarianism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Manzo, Kate. 2008. “Imaging Humanitarianism: NGO Identity and the Iconography of Childhood.” Antipode 40 (4): 632–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Milanich, Nara B. 2009. Children of Fate: Childhood, Class, and the State in Chile, 1850–1930. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Mintz, Steven. 2004. Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Mostafanezhad, Mary. 2014. Volunteer Tourism: Popular Humanitarianism in Neoliberal Times. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  65. Myers, William, and Michael Bourdillon. 2012. “Concluding Reflections: How Might We Really Protect Children?” Development in Practice 22 (4): 613–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Nieuwenhuys, Olga. 2013. “Theorizing Childhood(s): Why We Need Postcolonial Perspectives.” Childhood 20 (1): 3–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Pfeiffer, James 2004. “Civil Society, NGOs, and the Holy Spirit in Mozambique.” Human Organization 63 (3): 359–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Pupavac, Vanessa. 2001. “Misanthropy Without Borders: The International Children’s Rights Regime.” Disasters 25 (2): 95–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Read, Peter. 1981. The Stolen Generations: The Removal of Aboriginal Children in New South Wales from 1883 to 1969. Canberra: Department of Aboriginal Affairs.Google Scholar
  70. Rizzini, Irene. 2002. “The Child Saving Movement in Brazil: Ideology in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries.” In Minor Omissions: Children in Latin American History and Society, edited by Tobias Hecht, 165–80. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  71. Rosen, David M. 2007. “Child Soldiers, International Humanitarian Law, and the Globalization of Childhood.” American Anthropologist 109 (2): 296–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Sampson, Steven. 2017. “Introduction: Engagements and Entanglements in the Anthropology of NGOs.” In Cultures of Doing Good: Anthropologists and NGOs, edited by Amanda Lashaw, Christian Vannier, and Steven Sampson, 1–18. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press.Google Scholar
  73. Save the Children. 2006. Child Rights Programming: How to Apply Rights-Based Approaches to Programming—A Handbook for Internationals. London: Save the Children Alliance Members.Google Scholar
  74. Scheper-Hughes, Nancy, and Carolyn Sargent, eds. 1998. Small Wars: The Cultural Politics of Childhood. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  75. Scherz, China. 2014. Having People, Having Heart: Charity, Sustainable Development, and Problems of Dependence in Central Uganda. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Schuller, Mark. 2009. “Gluing Globalization: NGOs as Intermediaries in Haiti.” PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 32 (1): 84–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Schuller, Mark. 2012. Killing with Kindness: Haiti, International Aid, and NGOs. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  78. Shepler, Susan. 2014. Childhood Deployed: Remaking Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone. New York: New York University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Sinervo, Aviva. 2011. “Connection and Disillusion: The Moral Economy of Volunteer Tourism in Cusco, Peru.” Childhoods Today 5 (2): 1–23.Google Scholar
  80. Sinervo, Aviva. 2013. “‘No Somos Los Pobrecitos’: Negotiating Stigma, Identity, and Need in Constructions of Childhood Poverty in Cusco, Peru.” Childhood 20 (3): 398–413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Sinervo, Aviva. 2015. “Brokering Aid Through Tourism: The Contradictory Roles of Volunteer Coordinators in Cusco, Peru.” Tourist Studies 15 (2): 156–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Sinervo, Aviva. 2017. “Interdependent Industries and Ethical Dilemmas: NGOs and Volunteer Tourism in Cusco, Peru.” In Cultures of Doing Good: Anthropologists and NGOs, edited by Amanda Lashaw, Christian Vannier, and Steven Sampson, 142–62. Tuscaloosa, AL: The University of Alabama Press.Google Scholar
  83. Slim, Hugo. 2015. Humanitarian Ethics: A Guide to the Morality of Aid in War and Disaster. London: C. Hurst & Co.Google Scholar
  84. Smith, Roland. 1956. “The Manchester Chamber of Commerce and the Increasing Foreign Competition to Lancashire Cotton Textiles, 1873–1896.” Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 38 (2): 535–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Stephens, Sharon, ed. 1995. Children and the Politics of Culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  86. Stryker, Rachael. 2011. “The War at Home: Affective Economics and Transnationally Adoptive Families in the United States.” International Migration 49 (6): 25–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Suski, Laura. 2009. “Children, Suffering and the Humanitarian Appeal.” In Humanitarianism and Suffering: the Mobilization of Empathy, edited by Richard A. Wilson and Richard D. Brown, 202–22. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  88. Sutton, Peter. 2009. The Politics of Suffering: Indigenous Australia at the End of the Liberal Consensus. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  89. Swanson, Kate. 2010. Begging as a Path to Progress: Indigenous Women and Children and the Struggle for Ecuador’s Urban Spaces. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.Google Scholar
  90. Sweis, Rania Kassab. 2017. “Children as Biological Sufferers? The Paradox of International Medical Aid for Homeless Children in Cairo.” Childhood 24 (4): 502–16.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0907568217694417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Taft, Jessica K. 2015. “‘Adults Talk Too Much’: Intergenerational Dialogue and Power in the Peruvian Movement of Working Children.” Childhood 22 (4): 460–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. The Organization for African Unity. 1990. African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Addis Ababa: Organization for African Unity.Google Scholar
  93. Twum-Danso Imoh, Afua. 2012. “The Convention on the Rights of the Child: A Product and Facilitator of a Global Childhood.” In Childhoods at the Intersection of the Local and Global, edited by Afua Twum-Danso Imoh and Robert Ame, 17–33. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  94. Twum-Danso Imoh, Afua, and Robert Ame, eds. 2012. Childhoods at the Intersection of the Local and Global. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  95. United Nations. 1989. “United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.” United Nations General Assembly, 20 November 1989.Google Scholar
  96. Valentin, Karen, and Lotte Meinert. 2009. “The Adult North and the Young South: Reflections on the Civilizing Mission of Children’s Rights.” Anthropology Today 25 (3): 23–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Wall, John. 2004. “Fallen Angels: A Contemporary Christian Ethical Ontology of Childhood.” International Journal of Practical Theology 8: 160–84.Google Scholar
  98. Ware, Rudolph T. 2004. “Knowledge, Faith, and Power: A History of Qur’anic Schooling in 20th Century Senegal.” Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  99. White, Daniel. 2017. “AFFECT: An Introduction.” Cultural Anthropology 32 (2): 175–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Whyte, Susan R., ed. 2014. Second Chances: Surviving AIDS in Uganda. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  101. Wild, Rex, and Patrick Anderson. 2007. Ampe Akelyernemane Meke Mekarle, ‘Little Children Are Sacred’: Report of the Northern Territory Board of Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse. Darwin: Northern Territory Government.Google Scholar
  102. Williams, Erica Lorraine. 2013. Sex Tourism in Bahia: Ambiguous Entanglements. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Wilson, Richard. 1997. Human Rights, Culture and Context: Anthropological Perspectives. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  104. Woodhead, Martin. 1997. “Psychology and the Cultural Construction of Children’s Needs.” In Constructing and Reconstructing Childhood, edited by Allison James and Alan Prout, 63–84. Washington, DC: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  105. Wuthnow, Robert. 2004. Saving America? Faith-based Service and the Future of Civil Society. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.San Francisco State UniversitySan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.International Institute of Social StudiesThe HagueThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations