The humanitarian system and people living with and in long-term refugee situations envisage the future differently. This article explores different notions of the future that may be found in humanitarian policies and among humanitarian workers. Understandings of emergency, crisis and ethics in humanitarianism have particular impacts on how situations of protracted displacement are understood. The policy context for Syrian refugees in Jordan is analysed with particular reference to the ‘humanitarian reason’ which tends to separate between biological and biographical lives. Here, the future and past are separated from the present in a process that decontextualizes forced migrants both temporally and spatially. Through focusing on what humanitarian workers do, practices that challenge currently accepted humanitarian ethics are identified. By way of conclusion, and supported by feminist discussions of temporality and the ethics of care, the article suggests some possible ways of integrating a concept of the future in humanitarianism.
Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment\School of Architecture
Year of publication: 2016Date of RADAR deposit: 2016-07-28