Research by the Special Chair Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction

The Special Chair Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction is held by Dorothea Hilhorst. She coordinates the research programme on local economic life, basic services and aid in conflict-affected areas and disaster risk reduction in relation to development processes. The core of the research programme consists of a number of PhD projects.

Economic life in conflict-affected areas

Theoretically grounded in economic sociology and livelihood studies, this research theme addresses how people organize their lives and livelihoods amidst and after crises, how everyday economic life is organized in areas where the state is weak or contested by other ‘real’ governance players  - including aid organizations - and how this is intertwined with the dynamics of conflict and reconstruction.

Service provision in conflict-affected areas

Conflict-affected areas are marked by the presence of a multiplicity of service providers, for example in health, education and justice. This theme addresses the everyday politics of service provision and how services are shaped at the interfaces between different service providers and their users. We explore how in the multiplicity of service provision the organization, performance and accountability of the state is socially negotiated.

Everyday politics and practices of aid

This theme focuses on the policies, practices and discourses of humanitarian and development aid, and critically analyzes aid and aid relations in the evolving tradition of aidnography.  It views aid as socially embedded and recognizes aid as one of the layers of institutional multiplicity, working through and competing with other domains in local governance processes.

Everyday politics and practices of disaster risk reduction

Disaster response increasingly becomes pro-active with attention to disaster risk reduction mechanisms that aim to reduce people’s vulnerability to natural hazards and enhance the resilience of communities. We study how ideas, organizations and resources for DRR and resilience are generated and allocated and how they work out in international, national and local arenas.