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Humanitarian shapeshifting: navigation, brokerage and access in Eastern DR Congo

James, Myfanwy ORCID: 0000-0001-7194-1287 (2021) Humanitarian shapeshifting: navigation, brokerage and access in Eastern DR Congo. Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 16 (3). 349 - 367. ISSN 1750-2977

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Identification Number: 10.1080/17502977.2021.2002591


This article examines the experience of Congolese humanitarians negotiating access with armed groups in eastern DRC. It describes how humanitarians become shapeshifters: they play different roles for different audiences as a tactic of social navigation in a context of uncertainty. Because humanitarians encounter risks related to their perceived identity, they play upon identity categories and personal histories, situating themselves tactically during encounters with different armed actors through creative modes of self-fashioning. Whilst there remains a focus on performing a distinct humanitarian identity, NGOs in practice draw upon the embedded local knowledge and skills of employees to work in conflict areas.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author(s)
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
H Social Sciences
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2023 09:48
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2024 06:27

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