On 17th November, Dr Kilian Spandler, Researcher, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, gave a presentation titled “Saving People or Saving Face? Narratives and the Humanitarian Order in Southeast Asia”. The presentation was based on his recently published journal article. Dr Alistair D.B. Cook, Senior Fellow, HADR Programme Coordinator, Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, was the Chairperson of the webinar.
Dr Spandler’s research aimed to answer the following key question: Why is there so much uncertainty in the regional governance of HADR in the Southeast Asian region? Using narrative analysis as a theoretical framework, he investigated how different agents construct the role of the AHA Centre through different narratives. In doing so, he argued that competing narratives serve to hamper the formation of a more coherent regional architecture for humanitarian governance, and that a regional humanitarian community does not yet exist in the region. Rather, various humanitarian networks exist, which require a more unifying, overarching narrative for them to coalesce into a community. His findings question traditional hegemonic liberal ideas about the regional humanitarian system, which have implications on authority relations and roles and responsibilities of humanitarian actors.