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An Intellectual History of Refugee Livelihoods: 1919 – 1979 Evan Elise Easton-Calabria Humanitarian Innovation Conference, July 2014 Research.

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Presentation on theme: "An Intellectual History of Refugee Livelihoods: 1919 – 1979 Evan Elise Easton-Calabria Humanitarian Innovation Conference, July 2014 Research."— Presentation transcript:

1 An Intellectual History of Refugee Livelihoods: 1919 – 1979 Evan Elise Easton-Calabria Humanitarian Innovation Conference, July 2014 Research funded by the Humanitarian Innovation Project (HIP)

2 Source: Anistoriton Construction of a settlement for Greek refugees in Macedonia in the 1920s.

3 Gap in historical knowledge and institutional memory prior to late 1970s 'Since its inception…refugee studies has been notoriously ahistorical. Preoccupied with the latest emergency and with the plight of living people, researchers in this area of study have all too rarely looked into the past.' (Crisp 2003: 223) We don’t know what’s new

4 Publications containing term ‘Refugee Livelihoods’: 1708 – 2014 (decades)

5 What is new about refugee livelihoods assistance? What has changed? What hasn’t?

6 Data and Methods Current literature review and 200+ archival documents (League of Nations, UN, ILO, T. F. Betts Grey Literature archives) Intellectual History: Tracing of terms, dominant intellectual and economic thought Foucauldian Genealogy: Focus on practices and power, begins with a ‘diagnosis of the present’ (Foucault 1977)

7 Emerging Findings on Refugee Livelihoods Assistance: What has changed: Terms Structure and implementation What hasn’t: Main Practices Aims Challenges (since 1960s)

8 Structure and Implementation of Refugee Livelihoods Assistance:

9 In the Rutumba Settlement in Tanzania: ‘Fishing...is tolerated only if it does not interfere with the agricultural projects. The use of coercion is considered normal, and refugees are put into prison if they fail to provide expected labour requirements for projects such as the establishment this year of 400 acres of block farms to grow more rice, beans and cassava.’ (Trappe 1971: 10)

10 ‘Lack of early planning’ (UNHCR 2010: 7) Lack of expertise Practical problems: failed micro-finance initiatives, lack of soil testing, destructive farming methods Lack of displaced community involvement What needs innovating?

11 Conclusion Interwar Period: Example of a participatory refugee regime Postwar Period: Insight into ongoing challenges where innovation is needed Innovation as doing something old in a new way or context Listening to the uncited ‘experts’

12 For more information: Evan Easton-Calabria Humanitarian Innovation Project


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