THE SECURITIZATION OF HUMANITARIAN AID: A CASE STUDY OF THE DADAAB REFUGEE CAMP
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This thesis examines, empirically, the securitization of aid delivery at the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya. Through a series of semi-structured interviews with aid workers, it documents their security concerns, organizatinonal responses to security risks, and discusses the impacts of these concerns and responses on the delivery of aid to the camps. Armed with a biopolitical conceptualization of sovereignty, articulated in the human security paradigm, the humanitarian aid industry has increasingly reached beyond national borders to touch ‘bare life.’ By now, it is widely recognized that humanitarian principles such as neutrality have often failed to protect aid workers from violent attack as they increasingly venture into the world inhabited by “surplus populations.” Drawing on existing research, this study demonstrates how humanitarian aid delivery in high-risk environments, like refugee camps, is essential to the broader task of using aid to securitize and contain high-risk populations and political instability. Paradoxically, without the securitization of aid at the operational level, humanitarian workers are left exposed to the same enduring elements of insecurity that persistently threaten the lives of those they endeavor to help.