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The quantification of needs

Conference-debate Thursday 10 December 2020 from 18:00 to 20:00. This conference is accessible on Starleaf for those who would like to ask questions live. Streaming and simultaneous translation in English available on Vimeo.

 Links to the conference:

Meeting ID: 481 782 7866


Links to the Vimeo stream:

French Version

English Version

How did humanitarian organisations come to describe and measure the suffering of victims using numerical indicators ? When did impartiality become synonymous with allocating aid on the basis of universally quantifiable, comparable and prioritised needs ? What are the power struggles, conflicts of interest and value at the origin of the "universal minimum standards" of the SPHERE project? How did a three-colored plastic bracelet, the MUAC, become one of the key instruments for measuring and qualifying the severity of a nutritional crisis ? 

These questions are central to the latest book by the Africanist historian Joël Glasman entitled Humanitarianism and the Quantification of the Human Needs. Minimal Humanity (Routledge Humanitarian Press, 2019). Combining historical research and ethnographic investigations, he immerses us in the factory of the homo humanitarianus, the average individual, on the basis of which "needs" and aid projects are assessed today. He will come to tell us about it on Thursday, December 10th, during a conference-debate at the Crash.

To cite this content :
Joël Glasman, The quantification of needs, 10 December 2020, URL : https://www.msf-crash.org/en/conferences-debates/quantification-needs

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