The policy term ‘localisation’ has emerged as a buzzword in international development aid and disaster relief and has moved into cross-scalar and multi-jurisdictional spaces of humanitarian aid. It has come out of an international ‘humanitarian aid scene’, in which it is expected to travel across borders and into local contexts, where disasters occur, and humanitarian aid is/may become needed. This paper leverages critical geography research and builds on critical localisation literature to frame and advance our understanding of how localisation shapes and reconfigures ‘humanitarian spaces’. Contrary to many other policy concepts, ‘localisation’ explicitly signals spatiality and geography. It is not so much a description or articulation of particular policy actions, but more an indication of where and how other policies are to be embedded and made local. In exploring the transnational ascendency of such ‘silver-bullet’ policies, we focus specifically on the role of ‘local’ private sectors. We show how they may be neglected as ‘local’ partners by the formalized humanitarian system of UN agencies, while at the same time they are disproportionately affected by disasters. Using a single case-study based on fieldwork conducted with a private sector network in Vanuatu, we aim to advance our understanding of how ‘local’ private sector networks are embedded within the wider humanitarian system. In this, we show how humanitarian spaces are actively constructed and legitimized through ‘localisation’ actions that define who is ‘local’, and by the strategic use of ‘localisation’ narratives by both ‘local’ private sectors and international organizations.
|Number of pages
|Published - 2023
|RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2023: Climate Changed Geographies - Society and Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 30 Aug 2023 → 1 Sept 2023
|RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2023
|Society and Imperial College London
|30/08/2023 → 01/09/2023