Aid workers commonly bemoan that the spaces and experiences of working in ‘the field’ often sit uneasily with the goals they’ve signed up to: from visiting project sites in air-conditioned Land Cruisers while the intended beneficiaries walk barefoot through the heat, to checking emails from within gated compounds while surrounding communities have no running water.
While such observations might seem intuitive, to date no concerted academic or policy study has dealt with the impact of these factors on theory or policy. Spaces of Aid provides the first book-length analysis of what has colloquially been referred to as Aid Land, exploring in depth two high-profile case studies – the Aceh tsunami and Hurricane Katrina – in order to uncover a fascinating history of the material objects that have become an endemic, expected, yet unexamined part of the aid landscape.
I didn’t know Lisa well – we first met at a Durham conference organised by the International Boundaries Research Unit – but she was doing remarkable work. Since she very sadly died in 2013, I didn’t think we’d see her work get the audience it deserved. But colleagues and Zed Books have collaborated to produce this book – will look forward to seeing it. More details about the book and Lisa’s work are available here.