Macquarie University
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Pushing humanitarian thought: from Adam Smith to Michel Foucault to the Volunteer Tourist

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posted on 2022-03-29, 00:58 authored by Carlos Mauricio Palacios Obregon
The thesis explores how, when one poses the humanitarian question as a problem that permeates a whole horizon of coexistence, the question of "intervention" goes from being a matter of urgently doing what is right amidst a critical juncture to a matter of carefully assessing the logistical needs that weigh upon!the humanitarian project due to the always potential existence of its skeptics. The critical value of the skeptic, in this sense, is not just liberal, Socratic or relativist. It is not just! a dialogical resource to make humanist discourse non imposing, internally coherent or culturally unbiased. Rather, it is a strategic requirement for a moral sensibility seeking to integrate the entirety of humanity that its solutions work even among skeptics. Humanitarian thought will always need to push itself further to be able to reach and involve the skeptic in a circuit of collaboration. The thesis considers three important cleavages in the historical development of this larger frame of problematization: that of classical liberalism with an emphasis on Adam Smith, that! of! twentieth century antihumanism with a focus on Michel Foucault, and that of post social solidarity with a particular interest in the case of volunteer tourism ...


Table of Contents

Introduction -- 1. After an old politics of suspicion: pushing social thought even beyond Foucault -- 2. Unbinding radical affect: the modern humanitarian self as pure potentiality -- 3. Intervention in a "complicity" knot: pinpointing the impasse in!everyday development practice -- 4. A historically strategic conjuncture: the opening of a divide in social intervention -- 5. Solidarity without a contract: a potential strategic logic in a messy humanitarianism -- 6. Conclusion.


Bibliography: pages 368-394 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Sociology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Sociology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Mitchell Dean


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