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Between Samaritans and StatesThe Political Ethics of Humanitarian INGOs$
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Jennifer Rubenstein

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199684106

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684106.001.0001

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Eight Extant Alternative Approaches

Eight Extant Alternative Approaches

(p.28) 2 Eight Extant Alternative Approaches
Between Samaritans and States

Jennifer C. Rubenstein

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 examines eight prominent and/or seemingly promising approaches to conceptualizing and normatively evaluating humanitarian INGOs. These include the ideas that humanitarian INGOs are (1) rescuers, (2) partners, (3) agents for their donors, and (4) agents for their intended beneficiaries. It also includes the idea that they (5) should be accountable to their intended beneficiaries; (6) should abide by traditional humanitarian principles; (7) are analogous to multi-national corporations; and (8) are neo-colonial. All eight conceptualizations offer important insights into, or raise important questions about, INGOs’ political and ethical position. However, they do not provide an adequate basis for an account of humanitarian INGO political ethics, nor do they show that such an account is unnecessary or beside the point.

Keywords:   rescuer, partner, agent, donor, beneficiary, humanitarian principles, accountability, multi-national corporation, neo-colonial

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