Since 10/2010: Scholarship holder of desiguALdades.net
04/2009 - 09/2010: Scientific Assistant, Department of Anthropology, University of Leipzig
10/2002 - 03/2009: Masters (Magister) in Anthropology, Sociology and Communication- and Media Studies, University of Leipzig
Anthropology of Religion, Development and Humanitarianism
NGO Studies, especially Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs)
Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies
Arbeitstitel des Promotionsvorhabens
“Faith in Humanitarianism. The Study of Two Faith-Based Organizations in Post-Earthquake Haiti”
Betreuung: Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kummels
The dissertation interrogates the logics of faith, humanitarianism, and professionalism in the humanitarian interventions of two Christian faith-based.
Within the context of the complex humanitarian crisis amplified by the earthquake of January 12, 2010 in Haiti, both organizations were actively engaged in the reconstruction of the building structure of Jacmel and surrounding communities.
The research embarked on the question of what makes the differences between a house given to a Haitian survivor of the earthquake by a faith-based as opposed to a formally secular aid organization.
It focuses on the dynamics of secularization and sanctification as central features in contemporary humanitarianism. Within those dynamics especially faith and professionalism were addressed as meaningful aspects. The two faith-based organization targeted were analyzed regarding the ways in which faith as well as professionalism informed their organizational cultures in terms of their actions, most of all their distributive practice, and their inner coherence as faith-based organizations.
The underlying hypothesis is that both dynamics – faith and professionalism – are subjected to an ongoing process of negotiation, appropriation and dissociation, at the different levels of intervention: the headquarters of the two organizations, the offices in the field as well in relation to their beneficiaries, and become apparent in their distributive practice.
This study is based on data drawn from ethnographic fieldwork in post-earthquake Haiti, specifically the city of Jacmel in the southeast of the Caribbean country in 2011 and 2013. Participant observation in organizational processes and semi-structured interviews with employees and beneficiaries allowed for an in-depth examination of the two organizations. A subsequent narrative analysis focused on the framing and effects of the earthquake, and the role of faith and professionalism in the humanitarian interventions of the two FBOs.
Faith and professionalism both shaped, motivated and challenged the two organizations, their employees and their beneficiaries in different ways. The category of faith was most tangible in the church-based background of both organizations and the performance of religious identities, or the absence thereof, in their humanitarian missions in Jacmel. Professionalism was addressed in terms of the reference to and application of the core humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence as stipulated in the “Code of Conduct for International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief”.
The strategic secularism of one FBO– as a German Protestant organization intervening on a humanitarian mandate – applied in the field is contrasted with the outright religious vocation of the other FBO as a Haitian Catholic organization involved in both humanitarian assistance and development. Beneficiaries of both organizations appropriated their entitlement to the houses that the organizations constructed and integrated it into their religious life worlds as acts of God.
This study contributes to the comprehension of the nature of contemporary faith-based humanitarian interventions, the contexts they are embedded in, and the dynamics they are subjected to.