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The psychologization of humanitarian aid: skimming the battlefield and the disaster zone

Jan De Vos (UGent)
(2011) HISTORY OF THE HUMAN SCIENCES. 24(3). p.103-122
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Abstract
Humanitarian aid’s psycho-therapeutic turn in the 1990s was mirrored by the in-creasing emotionalisation and subjectivation of fundraising campaigns. In order to grasp the depth of this interconnectedness, this paper argues that in both cases what we see is the post-Fordist production paradigm at work; namely, as Hardt & Negri put it, the direct production of subjectivity and social relations. To explore this, the therapeutic and mental health approach in humanitarian aid is juxtaposed with the more general phenomenon of psychologization. This allows us to see that the psychologized production of subjectivity has a problematic waste-product as it reduces the human to homo sacer, to use Giorgi Agamben’s term. Drawing out a double matrix of a de-psychologizing psychologization connected to a politicizing de-politicization, it will further become possible to understand psycho-therapeutic humanitarianism as a case of how, in these times of globalisation, psychology, subjectivity and money are all interrelated.
Keywords
WAR, biopolitics, TRAUMA, psychologization, humanitarian aid, Homo sacer, fund-raising

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Chicago
De Vos, Jan. 2011. “The Psychologization of Humanitarian Aid: Skimming the Battlefield and the Disaster Zone.” History of the Human Sciences 24 (3): 103–122.
APA
De Vos, Jan. (2011). The psychologization of humanitarian aid: skimming the battlefield and the disaster zone. HISTORY OF THE HUMAN SCIENCES, 24(3), 103–122.
Vancouver
1.
De Vos J. The psychologization of humanitarian aid: skimming the battlefield and the disaster zone. HISTORY OF THE HUMAN SCIENCES. 2011;24(3):103–22.
MLA
De Vos, Jan. “The Psychologization of Humanitarian Aid: Skimming the Battlefield and the Disaster Zone.” HISTORY OF THE HUMAN SCIENCES 24.3 (2011): 103–122. Print.
@article{1856608,
  abstract     = {Humanitarian aid{\textquoteright}s psycho-therapeutic turn in the 1990s was mirrored by the in-creasing emotionalisation and subjectivation of fundraising campaigns. In order to grasp the depth of this interconnectedness, this paper argues that in both cases what we see is the post-Fordist production paradigm at work; namely, as Hardt \& Negri put it, the direct production of subjectivity and social relations. To explore this, the therapeutic and mental health approach in humanitarian aid is juxtaposed with the more general phenomenon of psychologization. This allows us to see that the psychologized production of subjectivity has a problematic waste-product as it reduces the human to homo sacer, to use Giorgi Agamben{\textquoteright}s term. Drawing out a double matrix of a de-psychologizing psychologization connected to a politicizing de-politicization, it will further become possible to understand psycho-therapeutic humanitarianism as a case of how, in these times of globalisation, psychology, subjectivity and money are all interrelated.},
  author       = {De Vos, Jan},
  issn         = {0952-6951},
  journal      = {HISTORY OF THE HUMAN SCIENCES},
  keyword      = {WAR,biopolitics,TRAUMA,psychologization,humanitarian aid,Homo sacer,fund-raising},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {103--122},
  title        = {The psychologization of humanitarian aid: skimming the battlefield and the disaster zone},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0952695111398572},
  volume       = {24},
  year         = {2011},
}

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