The Need to Help: The Domestic Arts of International Humanitarianism
Liisa H. Malkki is Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University. She is the author of Purity and Exile: Violence, Memory, and National Cosmology among Hutu Refugees in Tanzania, and the coauthor of Improvising Theory: Process and Temporality in Ethnographic Fieldwork.
Professionals Abroad: Occupational Solidarity and International Desire as Humanitarian Motives
2015. "Professionals Abroad: Occupational Solidarity and International Desire as Humanitarian Motives", The Need to Help: The Domestic Arts of International Humanitarianism, Liisa H. Malkki
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This chapter treats interrelationships among internationalism, professionalism, and occupational solidarity, together with the attraction and sense of possibility in aid work abroad. Under these headings runs a set of interrelated motivational, aspirational themes that emerged in the interviews. The Finnish aid workers’ ethical and affective internationalist sense of obligation to help in emergencies was exceptionally strong. So, too, was their aspiration to occupational solidarities and high-level professional teamwork with multinational colleagues. A love of travel was a way of conveying the personal challenges and rewards of international missions. People expressed a desire, even a need, to participate in what they felt were the warmer socialities of “the world out there.” They wanted to leave what many saw as a small, ascetic, often constraining “home”/“homeland,” and to be “out in the world,” and of it—and to be transformed by it. Helping became an alleviation of the aid workers’ own neediness.