Citizen Aid and Everyday Humanitarianism brings together, under the umbrella terms of citizen aid and grassroots humanitarianism, interdisciplinary research on small-scale, privately-funded forms of aid that operate on the margins of the official development sector.
The last decade has seen a steady rise of such activities in the Global South and North, such as in response to the influx of refugees into Europe. The chapters in this volume cover a variety of locations in Asia, Africa and Europe, presenting empirically grounded cases of citizen aid. They range from educational development projects, to post-disaster emergency relief. Importantly, while some activities are initiated by Northern citizens, others are based on South–South assistance, such as Bangladeshi nationals supporting Rohingya refugees, and peer support in the Philippines in the aftermath of typhoon Hayan. Together, the contributions consider citizen aid vis-à-vis more institutionalised forms of aid, review methodological approaches and their challenges and query the political dimensions of these initiatives. Key themes are historical perspectives on ‘demotic humanitarianism’, questions of legitimacy and professionalisation, founders’ motivations, the role of personal connections, and the importance of digital media for brokerage and fundraising. Being mindful of the power imbalances inherent in citizen aid and everyday humanitarianism, they suggest that both deserve more systematic attention.
Citizen Aid and Everyday Humanitarianism will be of great interest to scholars and professionals working in international development, humanitarianism, international aid and anthropology. The chapters were originally published as a special issue of Third World Quarterly.