Saving the Saviors: Security Practices and Professional Struggles in the Humanitarian Space

Saving the Saviors: Security Practices and Professional Struggles in the Humanitarian Space Abstract Tracing transformations in the way that humanitarian organizations respond to insecurity in the field, this article examines the bureaucratization and professionalization of security in relation to intraorganizational struggles between humanitarian professionals. Whereas some advocate for the triumph of remoteness and bunkerization as organizing principles of humanitarian action, others challenge the imposition of security as a humanitarian logic of practice through acts of nonconformity. These tensions are illustrative of professional struggles over how to do and think humanitarian action. In articulating a sociological and transversal reading, this article points to the heterogeneity and divisions structuring the humanitarian space. To provide empirical insights into the bureaucratic work practices of headquarters professionals and the everyday practices of frontline humanitarian professionals, this article draws upon an analysis of humanitarian security manuals, interviews with humanitarian professionals, and field observations in Port-au-Prince. The article sheds light on the development of the humanitarian profession and on the novelty of the work practices of humanitarian security professionals, while contributing to debates on bunkerization and the literature on transnational professionals. With the growing institutionalization of a managerial concern for the security of humanitarian staff (Fast 2014; Abu-Sada and Crombé 2016; Neuman and Weissman 2016), humanitarian work has slowly transformed into a “dangerous profession.” Structuring this shift, international humanitarian organizations (IHOs) have routinized the weighing of the cost of losing a “humanitarian life” against the potential value of saving lives. The capacity of IHOs to perform such balancing practices has notably been sustained by efforts to professionalize security management. Professionalization is observed in IHOs that have opened security-dedicated staff positions and organizational units. Through the work practices of humanitarian security professionals—who are primarily charged with producing managerial techniques, rules, and procedures that are said to better anticipate and reduce security incidents (Beerli and Weissman 2016)—security considerations have become integral to the planning of international humanitarian operations. Consequently, humanitarian actors now participate in the reconstruction of “populations in need” as “dangerous populations,” cast beyond the acceptable limits of sacrifice. Pointing to the “shrinking of the humanitarian space” (Brassard-Boudreau and Hubert 2010),1 one dominant strand of literature has tried to explain why aid workers are coming under attack (Fast 2007, 2010; Hoelscher, Miklian, and Nygard 2017). Taking the transformation of intervention sites as a given, some scholars have examined how organizations deal with insecurity in the field (Spearin 2001; Joachim and Schneiker 2012; Schneiker 2013, 2015; Fast 2014). Rejecting claims to rising insecurity (Dandoy and Pérouse de Montclos 2013; Weissman 2016), critical scholars have instead emphasized the adverse effects of humanitarian security practices. Embedded in wider debates on the paradoxes of humanitarianism (Ticktin and Feldman 2010; Barnett 2015; Pallister-Wilkins 2015; Hoffmann 2017), the security practices of IHOs have been criticized for reproducing global inequalities by transferring risk to national staff, producing hierarchies of humanity, and normalizing the segregation of international aid workers from local populations (Smirl 2008, 2015; Duffield 2010, 2012; Fassin 2010; Collinson et al. 2013; Dandoy 2013a,b). Albeit from divergent points of view, studies on humanitarian security either assume consensus on the need for organizations to adapt to changing operating environments or overestimate the capacity of security policies to transform the subjectivities of aid workers. In doing so, scholars have ignored struggles over, and contestations against, the way humanitarian security has been professionalized, thereby depoliticizing organizational change. By focusing on the bureaucratic and everyday practices of IHO staff, this article argues that humanitarian professionals themselves struggle to define the legitimate means of thinking and doing security in the humanitarian space. Whereas, on the one hand, headquarters security professionals produce internal security policies and bureaucratic rules, on the other hand, frontline humanitarians may contest the legitimacy and pertinence of top-down directives. Inconsistencies in professional practices and acts of nonconformity are not analyzed as pathological but instead as suggestive of intraorganizational power struggles and tensions. In positioning socioprofessional oppositions in relation to competing position-takings on how security is to be practiced, this article discusses constructions and contestations of taken-for-granted staff categories, such as headquarters/field and international/national. By providing insights into professional differentiation and oppositions in the humanitarian space, this article contributes to the study of the evolution of the humanitarian profession (Dauvin and Siméant 2002; Krause 2014; Roth 2015b). More generally, it enriches the growing field of humanitarian studies as well as the international political sociology literature on transnational professionals (Dezalay and Garth 2002; Cohen 2010; Dezalay and Garth 2011; Georgakakis and Rowell 2012; Kauppi and Madsen 2013, 2014; Bigo 2014; Bigo and Bonelli 2015; Martin-Mazé 2015). The theoretical and methodological reflections developed here seek to advance a transversal and sociological reading of international organizations (IOs) (Basaran et al. 2016), both intergovernmental and nongovernmental. In its consideration of professional practices and struggles,2 the article not only provides a more heterogeneous and relational reading of IOs—which are predominantly treated as internally homogenous structures, void of conflict—but equally gives insights into how IHOs do function as opposed to how they should function (Bierschenk and Olivier de Sardan 2014). The next section will situate the novelty of security as a differentiated professional practice in the humanitarian space and what this transformation in the division of humanitarian labor means for the profession as a whole. I then provide a theorization of professional struggles in the humanitarian space, followed by an explanation of the way data was collected through the articulation of a multisited professiography. The empirical demonstration proceeds in two parts. The first examines power struggles between headquarters professionals and senior field managers, and the second examines the infiltration of official security policies in the realm of the private while teasing out acts of (non)conformity. The article concludes by emphasizing the interest in going beyond Manichean conceptions of the international and the humanitarian. Humanitarian Security and Its Stakes in The Humanitarian Game Humanitarian operations have always entailed a degree of danger for those acting in the name of humanity. Yet, since the creation of the first security-dedicated position by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 1992, IHOs have slowly institutionalized new professional practices for dealing with the endangerment of “humanitarian lives.” Formally codified in 2000 as a distinct form of expertise that differs from other methods of protecting personnel and assets,3 humanitarian security management emerged as a technocratic-managerial approach to “insecurity.” Its “originality” as a professional knowledge system and practice resides in the prioritization of a more “systematic” analysis and planning process in order to predict and eliminate “unjustified risks” (Van Brabant 2000; Beerli and Weissman 2016). What is “new” about the work practices of security professionals is notably the systematization of bureaucratic tools and procedures designed to “manage insecurity.” This includes the systematization and centralization of incident reporting systems, the performance of risk analyses, the drafting of security plans for field missions, the proceduralization of how to respond to incidents, the drafting of contingency plans, and so forth. Security management thus embodies a differentiated practice and mode of internal social control, performed by designated professionals, which combines managerial techniques and technical security expertise. Humanitarian security as a professional practice touches not only on the organization of humanitarian operations but equally on the daily lives of field staff. Having decisional authority over the boundaries between “secure enough” and “too insecure” represents a unique stake in the humanitarian game, as it is the condition upon which the very possibility of humanitarian action has come to depend for many IHOs. Humanitarian security is therefore a particularly relevant professional practice, as it demonstrates the limits of the imperative to provide for those in “need” when confronted with security logics inciting fear and suspicion. Security priorities may then reorder the hierarchy between the prerogatives of “staying alive” and “saving lives” (Neuman and Weissman 2016). Where staff security comes first, aid is no longer “needs-based,” as it is commonly claimed to be, but instead allocated under the condition of “secure” access. The institutionalization of this prioritization, which challenges the preeminence of humanitarianism as a predominantly medical or legal preoccupation, runs the risk of expelling the world's “neediest,” located in the most “dangerous” corners of the world, from the international aid system (Fast 2014). Although official discourses position security management as a strategy for seeking or maintaining access, prioritizing security comes at the cost of proximity to beneficiaries (Smirl 2008, 241) and access to the world's most marginalized populations (Stoddard et al. 2017). Lastly, by designating separate systems of protection to different categories of staff, humanitarian security practices contribute to the hierarchization of human lives (Fassin 2010). The emergence of a new category of humanitarian professionals specializing in security was conditioned upon the interests of other humanitarian social groups—two of which are worthy of mention. From the perspective of the “top,” humanitarian security provided an effective tool for a rising class of senior humanitarian mangers who sought to exert greater control over frontline staff. From the perspective of the “bottom,” as frontline humanitarians transformed from a largely volunteer-based group into paid professionals, some began to have greater expectations regarding the responsibilities of their employers.4 Contributing to greater socioprofessional differentiation within the humanitarian space, broader dynamics of bureaucratization and professionalization have also structured the rise of humanitarian security professionals. The professionalization of humanitarian security is therefore situated more in relation to the ongoing autonomization of the humanitarian social space than to transformations of operating environments. While this type of organizational change has been most clearly observed in, and driven by, dominant IHOs,5 as security management becomes a criterion of professionalism there is growing pressure on all IHOs to conform to “best practice”—even if only superficially by leaving a paper trail. Though seemingly banal, organizational restructuration and shifts in the dominant logics of practice have consequences for what it means to do “humanitarianism” and to be a “humanitarian.” As highlighted by Walters, the very boundaries of the humanitarian are “often drawn in very minor and perhaps barely perceptible ways,” which are in many respects “set from within” (Walters 2011, 156). Given their potential to transform or reverse the very imperatives of humanitarianism, internal power dynamics and struggles over defining the legitimate way of thinking and doing humanitarian security provide a unique entry point into understanding the paradoxes of humanitarianism (Chouliaraki 2013). Tensions of Humanitarianism: Socioprofessional Differentiation and Competing Logics of Practice in the Humanitarian Space Moving beyond normative-functionalist analyses and hagiographic representations of humanitarianism, critical humanitarian studies scholars have highlighted the ambiguities and paradoxes of this specific domain of international practice. First, despite its discursive claim to a common humanity, humanitarian practice is nonetheless anchored in the (re)production of inequality and power asymmetries, thereby blurring classic binaries of the international, which contrast humanitarianism with security, compassion with cruelty, and universalism with particularism (Malkki 1994; Ticktin and Feldman 2010; Weizman 2011; Pallister-Wilkins 2015; Squire 2015). Second, in conjunction with wider debates on reconfigurations of power and sovereignty (Hansen and Stepputat 2006; Bigo 2016b), humanitarianism has been conceptualized as a form of government that constructs and subjugates new categories of “vulnerable” persons (Barnett and Finnemore 2004; Malkki 1996; Walters 2011; Fassin 2012). Through its constitution of, and power over, “beneficiaries,” humanitarianism is simultaneously a form of domination/emancipation (Barnett and Weiss 2008; Smirl 2008), care/control (Aradau 2004; Ticktin and Feldman 2010; Pallister-Wilkins 2015), and compassion/privilege (Fassin 2012; Redfield 2012). While capturing the paradoxical dualisms of humanitarianism, Foucauldian and Agambenian theorizations have failed to recognize the ways in which shifts in humanitarian practice correspond and relate to more general restructurations of socioprofessional configurations. Such approaches assume consensus and the total convergence of interests among humanitarian actors, despite their diversity. Yet, humanitarianism cannot be reduced to a system of governance nor a generic order producing asymmetric dichotomies between givers/receivers, governors/governed, or included/excluded (Fassin 2012, 32). Rather, it is a social space constituted by growing socioprofessional differentiation and multiple struggles to define the most legitimate means of thinking and doing humanitarian action. Departing from a definition of “humanitarian space” as merely a juridical or materially delimited space (Collinson and Elhawary 2012), the concept can be understood as a transnational social space (Hilhorst and Jansen 2010). This terminology does not refer to a state of exception in which order is suspended (Agamben 1998) but instead to a socioprofessional order structured by durable linkages and groupings between social actors (Bourdieu 1985, 730). As suggested by Bourdieu (1985, 723–24), social worlds “can be represented as a space (with several dimensions) constructed on the basis of principles of differentiation or distribution constituted by the set of properties active within the social universe in question, i.e., capable of conferring strength, power within that universe, on their holder.” When examined through such an analytical light, processes of professionalization and bureaucratization are by no means neutral, nor should they be exclusively questioned with regard to their effectiveness. Rather, organizational processes and divisions of labor should be interpreted in relation to tensions and power struggles between different socioprofessional actors in the humanitarian space. While such a theorization equally englobes interorganizational struggles, this article will focus more specifically on the intraorganizational dynamics of power-structuring relations between headquarters/field and security/nonsecurity humanitarian professionals. The gradual bureaucratization and professionalization of humanitarian action has been accompanied by a sharper separation, distinction, and hierarchization of the division of humanitarian labor. Many IHOs have evolved into internally diversified and heterogeneous socio-organizational contexts, albeit to varying degrees.6 They are populated by assorted categories of professionals in terms of their expertise, hierarchical position, contractual status, socioeconomic background, nationality, and geographical location. They have entailed the complexification of hierarchical chains of command, which verticalize the relationship between sites in which decisions and strategies are articulated and sites where humanitarian operations are conducted. While tensions between the two related, yet distinct and spatially disconnected, spaces have existed since the operational origins of international humanitarianism (Forsythe 2005; Baudendistel 2006; Farré 2014), historically, the capacity and resources allocated to the administration of humanitarian action have remained relatively limited. As such, the appointed authorities of IHOs did not have the power of a bureaucratic entity to monitor and evaluate the extent to which the growing number of humanitarian agents sent abroad effectively implemented and obeyed top-down directives. With technological advancements and investment in administrative and managerial capacities, IHO superiors are now able to be more involved in the everyday decisions of faraway field agents, thereby challenging the full discretion of the latter. Bureaucratization and professionalization have consequently intensified intraorganizational differentiations and oppositions. Though an oversimplification, humanitarian operations are structured by the following breakdown of positions and tasks: executives and senior managers produce institutional policies and strategies; middle managers and administrators monitor and evaluate humanitarian performance; and humanitarian “frontliners” perform the “dirty work” of humanitarian aid. Moves to bureaucratize and professionalize humanitarian action are therefore just as symbolic of the growing differentiation within the wider humanitarian space (Dauvin and Siméant 2002; Fresia 2009) as they are emblematic of the “lengthening of the chain of authorities and responsibilities” (Bourdieu 2004, 33). Yet, far from Weber's ideal of bureaucracy, organizational life is commonly characterized by internal power struggles. As the practices of each category of professionals are structured by differing logics and priorities, their vision of humanitarian realities may diverge and even come into conflict with one another. It is by contrasting the bureaucratic and everyday practices of humanitarian professionals that these tensions will be illustrated. While procedures and regulations validated through bureaucratic processes imply total control of the institution over the individual, the everyday practices of those governed by such measures point to the fallibility and contestation of bureaucratic regimes of control.7 This contradiction mirrors Lipsky's theorization of “street-level bureaucracy” (Lipsky 1980) as well as historical-anthropological accounts of colonial administrations (Cooper and Stoler 1989) and state bureaucracies (Bierschenk and Olivier de Sardan 2014). Whereas senior headquarters managers are generally charged with institutionalizing standard tools to rationalize decision-making and produce the desired results, field managers and their teams—or frontline humanitarians—may resist the rigidity of such technologies of control in order to maintain flexibility in the face of diverse contexts and situations (Lipsky 1980, 19). Moreover, whereas the former may be weighed down by politico-bureaucratic concerns and questions of organizational liability, the latter may be more concerned about the local populations they are meant to assist. Over time, the distinction and separation between “policymaking” and “policy implementation” as embodied in the distinction between “headquarters” and “field” within the humanitarian space has given rise to competing visions of humanitarianism, logics of practice, and concentrations of power. Although the acceptance of remoteness and bunkerization would suggest the triumph of a distanced and securitized vision of humanitarianism, acts of nonconformity are indicative of resistance against the imposition of security as a humanitarian logic of practice. Refusing to examine organizations as perfectly functional hierarchical structures, whereby disconnections between policy and practice are necessarily deviations from the “normal,” I explore contradictions in the dynamics of bureaucratization and professionalization through the prism of professional power struggles. It is therefore oppositions between socioprofessional actors who maintain divergent perceptions of humanitarian realities that explain inconsistencies between bureaucratic and everyday practices. By extension, the way that staff categories are produced by security professionals and simultaneously contested or negotiated in the field also speaks to power struggles within the humanitarian space. Like the “receivers” of humanitarian aid, humanitarian actors themselves may also be thought of as “humanitarian subjects,” who are constructed and categorized by the institutions that they represent. Though notably inherited from the practices of HR professionals, differential systems of care and control are produced through internal bureaucratic rules and constitute a central element of humanitarian security. IHOs produce staff distinctions such as national/international and permanent/temporary, which serve to implement differential modes of governance and systems of protection. Security policies contribute to the production of hierarchies of humanity not only between humanitarians and nonhumanitarians (Fassin 2010) but equally among humanitarians. This is done by implementing separate regulations, according to one's official status, on where staff may live, where they may go in their free time, and, in some cases, who they may meet up with. Moreover, by imposing codes of conduct under the guise of “security,” field personnel face certain constraints, which may work to socialize them to specific dispositions and cosmopolitan bourgeois lifestyles. Shared lifestyles (Bigo 2016a) are, in part, structured and reproduced through security management, thereby reiterating the social effects of material and spatial environments (Smirl 2008, 2015). “Embedded in working infrastructures,” classificatory systems may “become relatively invisible without losing any of that power” (Bowker and Star 1999, 319). The classificatory schemas produced by headquarters security professionals attempt to structure and control the daily lives of frontline humanitarians. Blurring the work-life and public-private divide, security is employed not only as a defensive measure but a disciplinary one, which invades the realm of the intimate. Yet, the power and efficiency of this specific regime of control resides in the conformity of humanitarian field agents to the categories that have been appropriated to them and their respect for rules that have been drafted for them. While categorizations embedded within a bureaucratic logic of security practice distinguish between “international” and “national,” therefore producing differences between agents of humanitarianism, the power of such classificatory schemas to generate effects depends on the subordination of field agents to bureaucratic power. The Dialectic of the Formal and the Everyday: A Multisited Professiography of Humanitarian Practice The argument presented in this article draws from empirical research connecting bureaucratic and everyday practices of (in)security.8 Through the notion of humanitarian space, this article ties together spatially fragmented spaces that constitute the principal sites of humanitarian practice and provides insights into the international division of humanitarian labor. To account for the ways that humanitarian security professionals attempt to routinize the security practices of frontline humanitarians as well as the extent to which the latter conform to such standards, this article inserts itself in a dualist and multisited research strategy. This is deemed necessary to account for different types of humanitarian practice occurring in distant, though interconnected, locations to understand the power relations that structure humanitarian work. In what I term a professiography of humanitarian practice, my approach addresses the plurality of ways in which humanitarianism is practiced by different socioprofessional actors. In order to account for the “official” side of humanitarian security as a form of professional practice,9 I have conducted an extensive analysis of generic security manuals produced by humanitarian security professionals, published between 1995 and 2015 (Cutts and Dingle 1995; UNSECOORD and UNHCR 1995; Cutts and Dingle 1998; Roberts 1999; Rogers and Sytsma 1999; Macpherson and Pafford 2000; Van Brabant 2000; Bickley 2003; Macpherson 2004; Mayhew 2004; Bickley 2010; Harmer et al. 2010; Irish Aid 2013). These generic manuals have been key to the production and diffusion of “best practices” of humanitarian security. Although they do not represent the actual security policies of IHOs, their production is a form of work practice, and they constitute the overall palette of strategies and polices, which are then adapted to specific organizational and country contexts. When possible, I have also analyzed organization-specific internal documents, such as standardized risk analysis templates and country-level field security plans. Alongside document analysis, I have conducted semistructured and biographic interviews as well as field observations aimed at understanding the precise ways in which humanitarian staff “practice security.” I interviewed twenty-six current and former headquarters security professionals, eighteen independent security consultants and trainers, thirteen field managers and program officers, and twelve field security advisors and managers. I also carried out complementary interviews with humanitarian security policymakers and analysts, operations professionals, Haitian security professionals, and low-level humanitarian staff and volunteers, making a total of 106 interviews. Interviews were carried out between April 2014 and August 2015 in Geneva, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, London, Oslo, and Port-au-Prince. To reconstruct divisions of labor and capture professional practices, interviewees were interrogated regarding: (i) organizational security practices and reforms, (ii) intraorganizational relations and divisions of labor, (iii) standardization of professional practice and interorganizational relations, (iv) their precise role with respect to security tasks, and lastly, (v) their socioprofessional biographies. These interviews were complemented by six weeks of fieldwork in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, observing the everyday practices of frontline humanitarians in order to grasp disconnects between policy and practice. Alongside independent service providers such as humanitarian security consultants and trainers, representatives from the following organizations were interviewed: Action contre la Faim, American Red Cross, British Red Cross, CARE, European Commission for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, Haitian Red Cross, International Committee of the Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Médecins du Monde, Médecins sans Frontières, Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam, Save the Children, Solidarités International, Swiss Red Cross, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the UK Department for International Development. In taking into account a wide diversity of humanitarian actors, the aim of this article is not to sketch out definitive and deterministic outcomes of security management practices, nor is it to make a clear distinction between “NGO-style approaches” and “UN-style approaches.”10 The plurality of ways in which humanitarian actors practice security have instead been approached as constitutive of power struggles within the transnational humanitarian space and tensions over what is to be the dominant logic of humanitarian practice. Bureaucratic Power and Frontline Discretion: Struggles Over the Location of Humanitarian Power Initiated by headquarters bureaucrats with the help of technical advisors, the formalization and institutionalization of security management extends a bureaucratic logic of practice and control to the issue areas of staff security and operational access. Entrenched in wider discourses of legitimization on the need for greater “professionalism” and “operational efficiency,” senior managers and technical advisors removed from the frontline administration of humanitarian aid use bureaucratic tools to create a sense of homogeneity and coherence in the practices of field agents. In doing so, senior headquarters-based managers in superordinate positions of authority assume the role of official spokesperson for the institution, dictating in written form how international humanitarianism should be thought, decided upon, and done. As such, the genesis of proceduralizing and standardizing security policy stems not only from a belief in the controllability of operational environments (Beerli and Weissman 2016) but equally from the ambition of officials, senior managers, and technocrats to better control agents representing the institution across the globe. Bureaucratic practices are therefore produced by a specific group of actors in an effort to construct a sense of verticality (Ferguson and Gupta 2002), whereby the institution is “above” the individual agents that act in its name, so as to govern individual behavior. As demonstrated in the words of a former ICRC executive when describing the creation of a “security and stress cell” within the department of operations at the headquarters in Geneva, following the death of a well-known delegate in the field: Even before M.’s death, having spoken to delegates, having seen how they all operated in different ways, I told myself, it is maybe time to take charge of things from Geneva, for security. . . . There is always a degree of responsibility of the delegate himself when he becomes a victim. What happened in Mindanao, for example, it was a seasoned, experienced delegate, but experienced to the point that he did not worry or bother himself with security questions. He was confident in himself. And in the end, voilà, he was kidnapped with another person . . . and held in captivity for three or four months. . . . Following M.’s death, that is when a first memorandum by the Director of Operations was created. It was basically recommendations made to Heads of Delegations in the field on how they should behave. . . . The reasoning that we had within the Executive Council,11 because there was an Executive Council at the time made up of seven members, was to say, in the end, it was the behavior of the delegates that was very important. Of course, they have a certain degree of responsibility when in the field, but they need to know how to behave themselves.12 While certainly innovative at the time, today most “professional” IHOs have a plurality of methods designed to systematize professional practice through bureaucratic systems and controls. First, senior humanitarian policymakers and managers attempt to reduce the discretionary power of frontline humanitarian managers and assert forms of symbolic domination over the field by imposing the use of certain toolsets and standard operating procedures (SOPs), meant to guide the elaboration of field security regulations and strategies. Today's dominant humanitarian players, in terms of financial resources and, by extension, operational scope, have security specialists who hold either decisional positions or advisory roles and are typically charged with developing “tools” and monitoring developments in the field. Whereas in the past many field managers developed their own individual systems for “managing security,”13 in some cases recording them on paper, headquarters security professionals push for the centralization and standardization of “tools”: The thing is that when the post [of security advisor] was created, there were already security tools and approaches that existed, but that were either obsolete or were only developed in an autonomous manner in one mission or in another field. So, the objective was to put in place a policy . . . a concrete, standard policy for [the organization]; to define a strategy and to formalize it, to document it, and to share it with different field missions so that everyone would have the same comprehension of the security issue and the same approach. And then after contextualizing it according to where one works . . . whether it be DRC, Haiti, or elsewhere.14 Developing tools essentially refers to: the formalization of security awareness and security management guidelines, which should form the basis of staff training and serve as a template for the production of country or program-specific security plans; standardizing incident reporting templates, risk and threat analysis templates, as well as operating procedures in accordance with risk levels; creating centralized incident report databases and classificatory schemas to categorize geographical zones according to risk levels; and so forth. The very act of imposing such standardized practice demonstrates the efforts of headquarters security professionals to reduce the heterogeneity of practices in the field and inconsistencies within the organization's central mandate. As noted by Michael Power (2004, 26), “standards for quality insurance and management systems” are classic forms of internal control. When given a general framework established by headquarters, senior field managers are then tasked with writing up a field security plan based on the specificities of their operating zone, which must be “validated” by headquarters. A façade of manageability and control over the unknown and the unpredictable is thus “created by a material abundance of standards, textbooks and technical manuals” (Power 2004, 59). In some cases, an intermediary “layer” is added to organizational structures to better ensure the observance of security management frameworks on the ground, thereby presenting an additional measure in the verticalization of authority. As explained by a former headquarters official from the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), regional security officers, who travel from their regional base to perform regular “visits” to specific field delegations, may be used to be ensure that “all is going according to plan.”15 Organizations with regional officers not only oblige field managers to perform certain tasks but they also have a team of “intermediaries” scattered in the field so as to keep a close eye and ear on what is going on: So you see, the thing is that then the security officer in the field send to us [their report] for final evaluation. That is something that ECHO wanted. They wanted Brussels deciding. So the regional officer was like our eyes there. And then, Brussels say yes or no [about continuing operations in high-risk areas].16 Security management is not only a distant form of power imposed through centralized technical tools and operating norms but may also manifest itself as a very real, physical presence. Yet, despite the capacity of institutions to exert disciplinary power or simply to exclude individuals who do not play by the rules, bureaucratic rules are nonetheless limited in eliminating the discretionary power and decisional autonomy of frontline humanitarians. For example, whereas country directors and heads of mission may have to submit country security plans that respect minimum security standards, where such standards exist, it is then up to senior field managers to decide on the degree of stringency or leniency in enforcing such rules and regulations vis-à-vis the field teams they oversee. This is notably demonstrated in the variation of managerial styles and discrepancies in security plans exhibited across and within organizational divides. Although some material constraints, such as site selection and site protection standards, are more difficult to bypass and negotiate,17 greater flexibility may be exhibited in controlling the behavior and movement of field staff. As such, whereas Duffield's critique on the bunkerization of “archipelagos of international space” remains pertinent (Duffield 2012, 477), challenges to bureaucratic power exhibited in the everyday practices of actors navigating in and out of such materially and symbolically protected spaces nonetheless merit greater nuance. Unlike Goffman's (1961) total institutions, humanitarian personnel are not fully encompassed nor are their lives fully administered by the spaces and rules that are meant to “protect” or separate them from the “outside” world. Senior security advisors have also noted difficulties in enforcing total conformity with incident-reporting regulations. Although, in theory, senior field managers are meant to formally report all security incidents so that they may be recorded and tracked by headquarters,18 both global security specialists and field managers note that this is not always done in practice. While official discourse states that such incident-reporting systems are designed to enable organizations to develop institutional memory on the evolution of operational settings (Rocha de Siqueira, Leite, and Beerli 2017), reporting incidents to headquarters may also create opportunities for undesired intrusions or inspections into field operations. As such, in contradiction to the rules set out by headquarters officials, country directors may demonstrate a degree of discretion in deciding the necessity of reporting certain incidents, notably “small” incidents.19 Inversely, senior field managers may also draw upon the support of bureaucratic rules produced and diffused by headquarters staff in order to legitimate a stricter managerial style: As it is necessary to manage these humanitarians, to manage the masses. You have to manage people with different experiences, who don't necessarily go to understand a context or to understand a society, but go for their own reasons, which could be to save children, to practice medicine, to reduce human suffering, whatever the reason is, we [field managers] find ourselves obliged to run things like a summer camp, to treat people like children, to give them procedures for everything. And when you manage a group, it is much easier to be extremely strict. For example, when I was in Haiti, precisely, I knew someone. This person never when out at night, she was totally overworked. She never went out to drink beers. Ok, not very social. And she would literally lock the entry gate of the compound. So hyper-precaution, it's comfortable. Loosen up the rules, it is much more difficult for a field manager or headquarters to say “ok, now there is a curfew at 7pm” than to say “no, a curfew is useless.” And there, in such a situation, liability, it is individual. . . . So when you are a bit afraid or not confident, then you will be cautious and restrictive.20 Differential position-takings vis-à-vis organizational principles of hierarchy and power can therefore produce contradictory displays of obedience and contestation across contexts. Securitizing the Private: Configurations and Contestations of Difference in the Everyday Much like the colonial regimes of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Stoler 1989; Cooper and Stoler 1997; Stoler 2010), humanitarian organizations have vested a particular interest in the intimate details of the lives of their staff. Blurring the divide between “public” and “private,” security management not only limits what humanitarians may do during work hours but also attempts to govern and control their private lives. Seemingly banal freedoms of choice—such as where one lives, what one does in free time, how one is mobile, and with whom one chooses to have intimate relations—are in some cases restricted, regulated, and monitored by the institution. In organizations where such restrictions apply, humanitarian staff will typically become familiarized with organizational policies during predeparture training and field briefings. Some organizations may even require staff to sign a copy of the most up-to-date security regulations, demonstrating their formal acknowledgement, understanding, and commitment to abide by the rules. Governing measures imposed on individuals in the field are commonly rationalized through the analytical process of risk assessment. Risk assessments are therefore used to justify the imposition of mobility restrictions, housing restrictions, and coupling restrictions, although there may be relative inconsistencies between the types of risks that are identified and the type of mitigating measures that are implemented. For example, a great topic of debate relates to curfews. Although most organizations restrict their personnel from being outside of their residences during certain hours, such as between midnight and six in the morning during weekdays, little evidence suggests that personnel actually face greater risk during those hours.21 Regarding mobility restrictions, “international” humanitarian staff and “national staff” are formally forbidden from going to what are termed “no-go zones.” Whereas the former are banned from going into such designated areas under any circumstances, such regulations only apply to “national” staff during working hours or when they are formally representing their employer. “No-go zones” may be entire neighborhoods or specific establishments. Whereas a number of organizations simply use United Nations-designated “no-go zones,” which are often conveniently visualized on UN-made maps, others provide their own lists of restricted and permitted locations. In Port-au-Prince, Western-style luxury hotels were typically considered as “safe enough.” Whereas “national” staff are neither limited to frequenting such places nor have the salaries necessary to do so, circulating in such exclusive spaces habituates “international” humanitarians to luxurious lifestyles, causing them to develop distinctive tastes that might otherwise be relatively unfamiliar.22 Depending on the local context, however, such spaces may also be frequented by local elites, therefore representing a site of encounter between “locals” and “internationals.” Developing relations with “locals” may open up opportunities for “internationals” to follow the latter into restricted, though unthreatening, zones.23 As field managers and logistics coordinators are limited in their capacity, and willingness, to oversee every movement of international staff members, such bending of the rules is nonetheless easily executed. Through acts of disobedience and subversion, “internationals” challenge the categories, associated regulations, and restrictive spatialities intended to govern them. Even more invasively, “international” humanitarians are commonly asked to avoid having intimate dealings with “locals.” Given the absence of such forms of “advice” in generic security guidelines, it has often been assumed that organizations do not meddle in the intimate dealings of humanitarian staff, as long as their relations do not jeopardize the mission. As Forsythe remarks in relation to the policy of the ICRC: On the more general question of intimate socializing with parts of the local population that can complicate the official mission, the ICRC has a very permissive attitude. After all, what is wrong with delegates meeting and falling in love with and eventually marrying someone from the local population? (Forsythe 2005, 121) Yet, field-specific security plans often tell another story, one whereby “falling in love with a local” is itself problematic: Intimate relationships between delegates and local women or men are strongly discouraged; this includes locally employed staff.24 Field staff may also be interrogated about their sexual practices during debriefings. Although such polices attempt to curtail or render punishable sexual abuses, by advising against intimate relations with “locals,” they equally create new forms of exclusion and othering by advising “international” staff to have relationships with others “like themselves.” Though not always obvious, coupling within organizations and across organizational lines is a very common and accepted practice (Roth 2015b).25 While “international” humanitarians were likely always distanced from “locals” given differences in social and economic status, security regulations institutionalize specific forms of “acceptable” behavior which contribute to the reproduction of shared lifestyles and dispositions among an ever-growing global population of “international” humanitarians. Through the frequentation of the “go-zones” and authorized residential sites, a transversal proximity is built, bringing together individuals despite their differences. Discouraging “international” staff from developing close personal relations with locals also works as a strategy to reduce the chances of highly qualified field personnel from “going native” (Cooper and Stoler 1997, 5). As humanitarian work is defined by the extreme mobility of its expatriate staff (Fechter and Walsh 2010; Redfield 2012), the development of personal relationships may compromise the willingness of individuals to move from one mission to another. Personal pursuits are therefore capable of increasing staff turnover, which represents a loss for the institution. Yet, despite such attempts to control the personal relations of “international” staff, some expatriate staff privilege their personal lives over their professional careers.26 It is such constraints that may eventually lead to exits from international aid work. This can particularly be observed among binationals, given their multipositionality between conflicting administrative categories,27 or among foreigners who have taken up long-term residency in countries that they originally came to as part of an emergency response. As such, whereas field security protocols co-constituted by headquarters bureaucrats and senior field managers attempt to manage the lifestyles and subjectivities of staff through the production and imposition of categorical statuses, such designations of difference are simultaneously accepted and contested. Such opposing practices therefore represent the everyday tensions and competing logics of practice that structure the humanitarian space. Concluding Remarks: Beyond Manichean Conceptions of the International In examining humanitarian practices, both bureaucratic and everyday work practices, this article has emphasized the politics and paradoxes of organizational processes. More specifically, it has called for a dual evaluation of the professional practices and struggles through which binaries of headquarters/field and international/national are both produced and contested. My aim was neither to dismiss such principles of difference nor assume their total effectiveness but to understand the dynamics of socioprofessional differentiation and power within the humanitarian space. Given the potential effects of such bureaucratic measures of control, I have politicized both forms of contestation and subversion to avoid reducing them simply to displays of technical dysfunction or pathological behavior which work to stabilize taken-for-granted configurations of power. Parallel to the efforts of “headquarters” to maintain power balances in its favor through the production and dissemination of technical tools that combine mechanisms of security and discipline, this power configuration is constantly challenged. Humanitarian bureaucratic power is by no means monolithic nor omnipotent. Much like the “agents of empire” who proved to be less reliable than high-ranking colonial officials based in the metropole would have wished them to be (Cooper and Stoler 1997, 6), so too are the “agents of humanitarianism” constantly challenging the expectations of their HQ-based superiors. As opposed to being “absolute,” the structuration of the humanitarian space is constantly negotiated over time and through the everyday practices of the individuals within that space. In capturing the role of humanitarian bureaucratic practices in producing forms of difference and distinction as opposed to irresponsibility or indifference (Pandolfi and McFalls 2010), which are neither fully observed nor void of power, the normative positioning of humanitarianism as an international order is challenged. Far from being unimportant, the prioritization of security as a condition for the possibility of humanitarian action, as opposed to the degree of need, has consequences for the ways in which humanitarianism is practiced. Humanitarian security management is thus inherently paradoxical. It is simultaneously positioned by some actors as the necessary means to access marginalized populations and achieve a common humanity while enforcing principles of difference and generating exclusionary effects. Moreover, though perhaps distancing themselves in subjective terms from other elite social groups, “international” humanitarians have nonetheless become a central group in the governance of the “Global South,” possessing power over the politics of life and death of an ever-growing population of “beneficiaries.” Such dynamics of power then place humanitarians within a wider social structure of “transnational power elites” (Kauppi and Madsen 2013). Contrary to the dominant literature on humanitarian governance, this suggests the dually universal and exclusive nature of humanitarianism, while highlighting contradictions between philosophy and practice. Just as the European bourgeoisie aspired to be a “universal class” while paradoxically marking “its distinctiveness in particular cultural forms” (Cooper and Stoler 1997, 2), humanitarianism falls into similar traps of paradox whereby practicing humanitarianism actually produces new forms of inequality and difference (Fassin 2012). As scholars, it is therefore imperative to find ways to work on institutional constructions and associated dichotomies without ourselves “falling into such a Manichean conception” (Cooper and Stoler 1997, 3). ACKNOWLEDGMENTS An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2016 European Workshops in International Studies. I would like to thank the workshop participants as well as Polly Pallister-Wilkins and Médéric Martin-Mazé for providing valuable feedback on an earlier draft of this article. I would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers and editors for their constructive comments and suggestions. Footnotes Grant or funder information: Fieldwork for this research was made possible with the financial support of the Academic Society of Geneva and the Ernest Boninchi Foundation. 1 An expression that has been used to suggest that the humanitarian space, understood as the areas in which humanitarian operations are conducted, has been reduced because of insecurity. This practitioner-based notion of humanitarian space is tightly linked to the terminology of “humanitarian access,” which refers to the ability of humanitarian workers to access populations in need. Against the shrinking discourse, Sandvik (2016) argues that the humanitarian space is more accurately expanding, as evidenced by the increased budgets and operational activities of IHOs. 2 For a recent discussion of the place of struggles in practice theory, see Martin-Mazé 2017. 3 Such as legal protections for medical personnel and facilities as inscribed in the Geneva Conventions, or the responsibilization of individuals as demonstrated by security awareness guides. The managerialism of security has therefore emerged alongside other professional knowledge systems (i.e., legal, HR, operations) that historically provided the principal techniques to deal with the possibility of attacks on humanitarian field staff. 4 See Roth 2015a; Abu-Sada and Crombé 2016. 5 Understood as those organizations that occupy a dominant position in the humanitarian space by virtue of possessing significant material and symbolic resources. For example, UN humanitarian agencies, ICRC, and the “big five” NGOs (MSF, Save the Children, Oxfam, World Vision, and International Rescue Committee) not only have the biggest operational budgets but also play a predominant role in establishing “best practices” for the humanitarian space. 6 For example, whereas UN agencies can be described as demonstrating a high degree of bureaucratization, dominant humanitarian NGOs such as Médécins sans Frontières or Oxfam are comparatively less bureaucratized. This distinction is based on the complexity of organizational structures and degree of codification of organizational rules and procedures. 7 For a more general discussion and analysis of the proceduralization of safety and security, see Bieder and Bourrier 2013. 8 For a discussion on the need to cross-examine the bureaucratic and the everyday, see Hibou 2015. 9 For more on the construction of “formal” and “informal” organizational practices in relation to the academic division of labor, see Lomba 2008; Hull 2012. 10 For efforts to provide a typology of security strategies, see Schneiker 2013. 11 This body no longer exists but has been replaced by the Assembly. 12 Interview with a former ICRC executive [author's translation], Geneva, November 5, 2015. 13 Such “individualized” methods of operating are still common practice in less institutionalized humanitarian entities. However, the incapacity of international institutions, whether governmental or nongovernmental, to enforce minimum operating standards is becoming a criterion used by actors to oppose “professionalism” with “amateurism.” For more on distinctions of professionalism/amateurism see Siméant (2001). 14 Interview with the security focal point of an INGO [author's translation], Geneva, April 4, 2014. 15 Interview with ECHO security official, Brussels, June 17, 2014. 16 Interview with former ECHO security official, Brussels, June 12, 2014. 17 Interview with the Country Director of a National Red Cross Society, Port-au-Prince, July 10, 2015. 18 For organizations that implement such a protocol, incidents are either directly entered into a central database by the country director or noted in a standard document, which is then sent to the desk officer or global security focal point and entered into a centrally-maintained database. 19 Interview with the country director of an INGO, Port-au-Prince, July 12, 2015. 20 Interview with the former desk officer to Haiti of an INGO [author's translation], Paris, March 10, 2014. 21 Interview with the country director of an INGO, Port-au-Prince, July 8, 2015; Interview with the logistics coordinator of an INGO, Port-au-Prince, July 14, 2015. 22 Given attacks on upscale hotels in some African contexts, such as Mali, it would be worthwhile to investigate how such acts of violence destabilize the relationship between luxury and security. 23 Infractions of security rules and admission of such infractions were regularly observed and recorded during my fieldwork. 24 Security Regulations for the field mission of IHO “A” in Haiti 2015. 25 Interview with a humanitarian practitioner of an IHO, Geneva, December 16, 2014; interview with the program coordinator of an IHO, Port-au-Prince, July 17, 2015; informal discussion with a former humanitarian practitioner, Paris, February 23, 2016. 26 Informal discussions with three expatriates who first arrived in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake but decided not to continue working with the organization they arrived with in order to be able to stay in the country. 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Saving the Saviors: Security Practices and Professional Struggles in the Humanitarian Space

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Abstract

Abstract Tracing transformations in the way that humanitarian organizations respond to insecurity in the field, this article examines the bureaucratization and professionalization of security in relation to intraorganizational struggles between humanitarian professionals. Whereas some advocate for the triumph of remoteness and bunkerization as organizing principles of humanitarian action, others challenge the imposition of security as a humanitarian logic of practice through acts of nonconformity. These tensions are illustrative of professional struggles over how to do and think humanitarian action. In articulating a sociological and transversal reading, this article points to the heterogeneity and divisions structuring the humanitarian space. To provide empirical insights into the bureaucratic work practices of headquarters professionals and the everyday practices of frontline humanitarian professionals, this article draws upon an analysis of humanitarian security manuals, interviews with humanitarian professionals, and field observations in Port-au-Prince. The article sheds light on the development of the humanitarian profession and on the novelty of the work practices of humanitarian security professionals, while contributing to debates on bunkerization and the literature on transnational professionals. With the growing institutionalization of a managerial concern for the security of humanitarian staff (Fast 2014; Abu-Sada and Crombé 2016; Neuman and Weissman 2016), humanitarian work has slowly transformed into a “dangerous profession.” Structuring this shift, international humanitarian organizations (IHOs) have routinized the weighing of the cost of losing a “humanitarian life” against the potential value of saving lives. The capacity of IHOs to perform such balancing practices has notably been sustained by efforts to professionalize security management. Professionalization is observed in IHOs that have opened security-dedicated staff positions and organizational units. Through the work practices of humanitarian security professionals—who are primarily charged with producing managerial techniques, rules, and procedures that are said to better anticipate and reduce security incidents (Beerli and Weissman 2016)—security considerations have become integral to the planning of international humanitarian operations. Consequently, humanitarian actors now participate in the reconstruction of “populations in need” as “dangerous populations,” cast beyond the acceptable limits of sacrifice. Pointing to the “shrinking of the humanitarian space” (Brassard-Boudreau and Hubert 2010),1 one dominant strand of literature has tried to explain why aid workers are coming under attack (Fast 2007, 2010; Hoelscher, Miklian, and Nygard 2017). Taking the transformation of intervention sites as a given, some scholars have examined how organizations deal with insecurity in the field (Spearin 2001; Joachim and Schneiker 2012; Schneiker 2013, 2015; Fast 2014). Rejecting claims to rising insecurity (Dandoy and Pérouse de Montclos 2013; Weissman 2016), critical scholars have instead emphasized the adverse effects of humanitarian security practices. Embedded in wider debates on the paradoxes of humanitarianism (Ticktin and Feldman 2010; Barnett 2015; Pallister-Wilkins 2015; Hoffmann 2017), the security practices of IHOs have been criticized for reproducing global inequalities by transferring risk to national staff, producing hierarchies of humanity, and normalizing the segregation of international aid workers from local populations (Smirl 2008, 2015; Duffield 2010, 2012; Fassin 2010; Collinson et al. 2013; Dandoy 2013a,b). Albeit from divergent points of view, studies on humanitarian security either assume consensus on the need for organizations to adapt to changing operating environments or overestimate the capacity of security policies to transform the subjectivities of aid workers. In doing so, scholars have ignored struggles over, and contestations against, the way humanitarian security has been professionalized, thereby depoliticizing organizational change. By focusing on the bureaucratic and everyday practices of IHO staff, this article argues that humanitarian professionals themselves struggle to define the legitimate means of thinking and doing security in the humanitarian space. Whereas, on the one hand, headquarters security professionals produce internal security policies and bureaucratic rules, on the other hand, frontline humanitarians may contest the legitimacy and pertinence of top-down directives. Inconsistencies in professional practices and acts of nonconformity are not analyzed as pathological but instead as suggestive of intraorganizational power struggles and tensions. In positioning socioprofessional oppositions in relation to competing position-takings on how security is to be practiced, this article discusses constructions and contestations of taken-for-granted staff categories, such as headquarters/field and international/national. By providing insights into professional differentiation and oppositions in the humanitarian space, this article contributes to the study of the evolution of the humanitarian profession (Dauvin and Siméant 2002; Krause 2014; Roth 2015b). More generally, it enriches the growing field of humanitarian studies as well as the international political sociology literature on transnational professionals (Dezalay and Garth 2002; Cohen 2010; Dezalay and Garth 2011; Georgakakis and Rowell 2012; Kauppi and Madsen 2013, 2014; Bigo 2014; Bigo and Bonelli 2015; Martin-Mazé 2015). The theoretical and methodological reflections developed here seek to advance a transversal and sociological reading of international organizations (IOs) (Basaran et al. 2016), both intergovernmental and nongovernmental. In its consideration of professional practices and struggles,2 the article not only provides a more heterogeneous and relational reading of IOs—which are predominantly treated as internally homogenous structures, void of conflict—but equally gives insights into how IHOs do function as opposed to how they should function (Bierschenk and Olivier de Sardan 2014). The next section will situate the novelty of security as a differentiated professional practice in the humanitarian space and what this transformation in the division of humanitarian labor means for the profession as a whole. I then provide a theorization of professional struggles in the humanitarian space, followed by an explanation of the way data was collected through the articulation of a multisited professiography. The empirical demonstration proceeds in two parts. The first examines power struggles between headquarters professionals and senior field managers, and the second examines the infiltration of official security policies in the realm of the private while teasing out acts of (non)conformity. The article concludes by emphasizing the interest in going beyond Manichean conceptions of the international and the humanitarian. Humanitarian Security and Its Stakes in The Humanitarian Game Humanitarian operations have always entailed a degree of danger for those acting in the name of humanity. Yet, since the creation of the first security-dedicated position by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 1992, IHOs have slowly institutionalized new professional practices for dealing with the endangerment of “humanitarian lives.” Formally codified in 2000 as a distinct form of expertise that differs from other methods of protecting personnel and assets,3 humanitarian security management emerged as a technocratic-managerial approach to “insecurity.” Its “originality” as a professional knowledge system and practice resides in the prioritization of a more “systematic” analysis and planning process in order to predict and eliminate “unjustified risks” (Van Brabant 2000; Beerli and Weissman 2016). What is “new” about the work practices of security professionals is notably the systematization of bureaucratic tools and procedures designed to “manage insecurity.” This includes the systematization and centralization of incident reporting systems, the performance of risk analyses, the drafting of security plans for field missions, the proceduralization of how to respond to incidents, the drafting of contingency plans, and so forth. Security management thus embodies a differentiated practice and mode of internal social control, performed by designated professionals, which combines managerial techniques and technical security expertise. Humanitarian security as a professional practice touches not only on the organization of humanitarian operations but equally on the daily lives of field staff. Having decisional authority over the boundaries between “secure enough” and “too insecure” represents a unique stake in the humanitarian game, as it is the condition upon which the very possibility of humanitarian action has come to depend for many IHOs. Humanitarian security is therefore a particularly relevant professional practice, as it demonstrates the limits of the imperative to provide for those in “need” when confronted with security logics inciting fear and suspicion. Security priorities may then reorder the hierarchy between the prerogatives of “staying alive” and “saving lives” (Neuman and Weissman 2016). Where staff security comes first, aid is no longer “needs-based,” as it is commonly claimed to be, but instead allocated under the condition of “secure” access. The institutionalization of this prioritization, which challenges the preeminence of humanitarianism as a predominantly medical or legal preoccupation, runs the risk of expelling the world's “neediest,” located in the most “dangerous” corners of the world, from the international aid system (Fast 2014). Although official discourses position security management as a strategy for seeking or maintaining access, prioritizing security comes at the cost of proximity to beneficiaries (Smirl 2008, 241) and access to the world's most marginalized populations (Stoddard et al. 2017). Lastly, by designating separate systems of protection to different categories of staff, humanitarian security practices contribute to the hierarchization of human lives (Fassin 2010). The emergence of a new category of humanitarian professionals specializing in security was conditioned upon the interests of other humanitarian social groups—two of which are worthy of mention. From the perspective of the “top,” humanitarian security provided an effective tool for a rising class of senior humanitarian mangers who sought to exert greater control over frontline staff. From the perspective of the “bottom,” as frontline humanitarians transformed from a largely volunteer-based group into paid professionals, some began to have greater expectations regarding the responsibilities of their employers.4 Contributing to greater socioprofessional differentiation within the humanitarian space, broader dynamics of bureaucratization and professionalization have also structured the rise of humanitarian security professionals. The professionalization of humanitarian security is therefore situated more in relation to the ongoing autonomization of the humanitarian social space than to transformations of operating environments. While this type of organizational change has been most clearly observed in, and driven by, dominant IHOs,5 as security management becomes a criterion of professionalism there is growing pressure on all IHOs to conform to “best practice”—even if only superficially by leaving a paper trail. Though seemingly banal, organizational restructuration and shifts in the dominant logics of practice have consequences for what it means to do “humanitarianism” and to be a “humanitarian.” As highlighted by Walters, the very boundaries of the humanitarian are “often drawn in very minor and perhaps barely perceptible ways,” which are in many respects “set from within” (Walters 2011, 156). Given their potential to transform or reverse the very imperatives of humanitarianism, internal power dynamics and struggles over defining the legitimate way of thinking and doing humanitarian security provide a unique entry point into understanding the paradoxes of humanitarianism (Chouliaraki 2013). Tensions of Humanitarianism: Socioprofessional Differentiation and Competing Logics of Practice in the Humanitarian Space Moving beyond normative-functionalist analyses and hagiographic representations of humanitarianism, critical humanitarian studies scholars have highlighted the ambiguities and paradoxes of this specific domain of international practice. First, despite its discursive claim to a common humanity, humanitarian practice is nonetheless anchored in the (re)production of inequality and power asymmetries, thereby blurring classic binaries of the international, which contrast humanitarianism with security, compassion with cruelty, and universalism with particularism (Malkki 1994; Ticktin and Feldman 2010; Weizman 2011; Pallister-Wilkins 2015; Squire 2015). Second, in conjunction with wider debates on reconfigurations of power and sovereignty (Hansen and Stepputat 2006; Bigo 2016b), humanitarianism has been conceptualized as a form of government that constructs and subjugates new categories of “vulnerable” persons (Barnett and Finnemore 2004; Malkki 1996; Walters 2011; Fassin 2012). Through its constitution of, and power over, “beneficiaries,” humanitarianism is simultaneously a form of domination/emancipation (Barnett and Weiss 2008; Smirl 2008), care/control (Aradau 2004; Ticktin and Feldman 2010; Pallister-Wilkins 2015), and compassion/privilege (Fassin 2012; Redfield 2012). While capturing the paradoxical dualisms of humanitarianism, Foucauldian and Agambenian theorizations have failed to recognize the ways in which shifts in humanitarian practice correspond and relate to more general restructurations of socioprofessional configurations. Such approaches assume consensus and the total convergence of interests among humanitarian actors, despite their diversity. Yet, humanitarianism cannot be reduced to a system of governance nor a generic order producing asymmetric dichotomies between givers/receivers, governors/governed, or included/excluded (Fassin 2012, 32). Rather, it is a social space constituted by growing socioprofessional differentiation and multiple struggles to define the most legitimate means of thinking and doing humanitarian action. Departing from a definition of “humanitarian space” as merely a juridical or materially delimited space (Collinson and Elhawary 2012), the concept can be understood as a transnational social space (Hilhorst and Jansen 2010). This terminology does not refer to a state of exception in which order is suspended (Agamben 1998) but instead to a socioprofessional order structured by durable linkages and groupings between social actors (Bourdieu 1985, 730). As suggested by Bourdieu (1985, 723–24), social worlds “can be represented as a space (with several dimensions) constructed on the basis of principles of differentiation or distribution constituted by the set of properties active within the social universe in question, i.e., capable of conferring strength, power within that universe, on their holder.” When examined through such an analytical light, processes of professionalization and bureaucratization are by no means neutral, nor should they be exclusively questioned with regard to their effectiveness. Rather, organizational processes and divisions of labor should be interpreted in relation to tensions and power struggles between different socioprofessional actors in the humanitarian space. While such a theorization equally englobes interorganizational struggles, this article will focus more specifically on the intraorganizational dynamics of power-structuring relations between headquarters/field and security/nonsecurity humanitarian professionals. The gradual bureaucratization and professionalization of humanitarian action has been accompanied by a sharper separation, distinction, and hierarchization of the division of humanitarian labor. Many IHOs have evolved into internally diversified and heterogeneous socio-organizational contexts, albeit to varying degrees.6 They are populated by assorted categories of professionals in terms of their expertise, hierarchical position, contractual status, socioeconomic background, nationality, and geographical location. They have entailed the complexification of hierarchical chains of command, which verticalize the relationship between sites in which decisions and strategies are articulated and sites where humanitarian operations are conducted. While tensions between the two related, yet distinct and spatially disconnected, spaces have existed since the operational origins of international humanitarianism (Forsythe 2005; Baudendistel 2006; Farré 2014), historically, the capacity and resources allocated to the administration of humanitarian action have remained relatively limited. As such, the appointed authorities of IHOs did not have the power of a bureaucratic entity to monitor and evaluate the extent to which the growing number of humanitarian agents sent abroad effectively implemented and obeyed top-down directives. With technological advancements and investment in administrative and managerial capacities, IHO superiors are now able to be more involved in the everyday decisions of faraway field agents, thereby challenging the full discretion of the latter. Bureaucratization and professionalization have consequently intensified intraorganizational differentiations and oppositions. Though an oversimplification, humanitarian operations are structured by the following breakdown of positions and tasks: executives and senior managers produce institutional policies and strategies; middle managers and administrators monitor and evaluate humanitarian performance; and humanitarian “frontliners” perform the “dirty work” of humanitarian aid. Moves to bureaucratize and professionalize humanitarian action are therefore just as symbolic of the growing differentiation within the wider humanitarian space (Dauvin and Siméant 2002; Fresia 2009) as they are emblematic of the “lengthening of the chain of authorities and responsibilities” (Bourdieu 2004, 33). Yet, far from Weber's ideal of bureaucracy, organizational life is commonly characterized by internal power struggles. As the practices of each category of professionals are structured by differing logics and priorities, their vision of humanitarian realities may diverge and even come into conflict with one another. It is by contrasting the bureaucratic and everyday practices of humanitarian professionals that these tensions will be illustrated. While procedures and regulations validated through bureaucratic processes imply total control of the institution over the individual, the everyday practices of those governed by such measures point to the fallibility and contestation of bureaucratic regimes of control.7 This contradiction mirrors Lipsky's theorization of “street-level bureaucracy” (Lipsky 1980) as well as historical-anthropological accounts of colonial administrations (Cooper and Stoler 1989) and state bureaucracies (Bierschenk and Olivier de Sardan 2014). Whereas senior headquarters managers are generally charged with institutionalizing standard tools to rationalize decision-making and produce the desired results, field managers and their teams—or frontline humanitarians—may resist the rigidity of such technologies of control in order to maintain flexibility in the face of diverse contexts and situations (Lipsky 1980, 19). Moreover, whereas the former may be weighed down by politico-bureaucratic concerns and questions of organizational liability, the latter may be more concerned about the local populations they are meant to assist. Over time, the distinction and separation between “policymaking” and “policy implementation” as embodied in the distinction between “headquarters” and “field” within the humanitarian space has given rise to competing visions of humanitarianism, logics of practice, and concentrations of power. Although the acceptance of remoteness and bunkerization would suggest the triumph of a distanced and securitized vision of humanitarianism, acts of nonconformity are indicative of resistance against the imposition of security as a humanitarian logic of practice. Refusing to examine organizations as perfectly functional hierarchical structures, whereby disconnections between policy and practice are necessarily deviations from the “normal,” I explore contradictions in the dynamics of bureaucratization and professionalization through the prism of professional power struggles. It is therefore oppositions between socioprofessional actors who maintain divergent perceptions of humanitarian realities that explain inconsistencies between bureaucratic and everyday practices. By extension, the way that staff categories are produced by security professionals and simultaneously contested or negotiated in the field also speaks to power struggles within the humanitarian space. Like the “receivers” of humanitarian aid, humanitarian actors themselves may also be thought of as “humanitarian subjects,” who are constructed and categorized by the institutions that they represent. Though notably inherited from the practices of HR professionals, differential systems of care and control are produced through internal bureaucratic rules and constitute a central element of humanitarian security. IHOs produce staff distinctions such as national/international and permanent/temporary, which serve to implement differential modes of governance and systems of protection. Security policies contribute to the production of hierarchies of humanity not only between humanitarians and nonhumanitarians (Fassin 2010) but equally among humanitarians. This is done by implementing separate regulations, according to one's official status, on where staff may live, where they may go in their free time, and, in some cases, who they may meet up with. Moreover, by imposing codes of conduct under the guise of “security,” field personnel face certain constraints, which may work to socialize them to specific dispositions and cosmopolitan bourgeois lifestyles. Shared lifestyles (Bigo 2016a) are, in part, structured and reproduced through security management, thereby reiterating the social effects of material and spatial environments (Smirl 2008, 2015). “Embedded in working infrastructures,” classificatory systems may “become relatively invisible without losing any of that power” (Bowker and Star 1999, 319). The classificatory schemas produced by headquarters security professionals attempt to structure and control the daily lives of frontline humanitarians. Blurring the work-life and public-private divide, security is employed not only as a defensive measure but a disciplinary one, which invades the realm of the intimate. Yet, the power and efficiency of this specific regime of control resides in the conformity of humanitarian field agents to the categories that have been appropriated to them and their respect for rules that have been drafted for them. While categorizations embedded within a bureaucratic logic of security practice distinguish between “international” and “national,” therefore producing differences between agents of humanitarianism, the power of such classificatory schemas to generate effects depends on the subordination of field agents to bureaucratic power. The Dialectic of the Formal and the Everyday: A Multisited Professiography of Humanitarian Practice The argument presented in this article draws from empirical research connecting bureaucratic and everyday practices of (in)security.8 Through the notion of humanitarian space, this article ties together spatially fragmented spaces that constitute the principal sites of humanitarian practice and provides insights into the international division of humanitarian labor. To account for the ways that humanitarian security professionals attempt to routinize the security practices of frontline humanitarians as well as the extent to which the latter conform to such standards, this article inserts itself in a dualist and multisited research strategy. This is deemed necessary to account for different types of humanitarian practice occurring in distant, though interconnected, locations to understand the power relations that structure humanitarian work. In what I term a professiography of humanitarian practice, my approach addresses the plurality of ways in which humanitarianism is practiced by different socioprofessional actors. In order to account for the “official” side of humanitarian security as a form of professional practice,9 I have conducted an extensive analysis of generic security manuals produced by humanitarian security professionals, published between 1995 and 2015 (Cutts and Dingle 1995; UNSECOORD and UNHCR 1995; Cutts and Dingle 1998; Roberts 1999; Rogers and Sytsma 1999; Macpherson and Pafford 2000; Van Brabant 2000; Bickley 2003; Macpherson 2004; Mayhew 2004; Bickley 2010; Harmer et al. 2010; Irish Aid 2013). These generic manuals have been key to the production and diffusion of “best practices” of humanitarian security. Although they do not represent the actual security policies of IHOs, their production is a form of work practice, and they constitute the overall palette of strategies and polices, which are then adapted to specific organizational and country contexts. When possible, I have also analyzed organization-specific internal documents, such as standardized risk analysis templates and country-level field security plans. Alongside document analysis, I have conducted semistructured and biographic interviews as well as field observations aimed at understanding the precise ways in which humanitarian staff “practice security.” I interviewed twenty-six current and former headquarters security professionals, eighteen independent security consultants and trainers, thirteen field managers and program officers, and twelve field security advisors and managers. I also carried out complementary interviews with humanitarian security policymakers and analysts, operations professionals, Haitian security professionals, and low-level humanitarian staff and volunteers, making a total of 106 interviews. Interviews were carried out between April 2014 and August 2015 in Geneva, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, London, Oslo, and Port-au-Prince. To reconstruct divisions of labor and capture professional practices, interviewees were interrogated regarding: (i) organizational security practices and reforms, (ii) intraorganizational relations and divisions of labor, (iii) standardization of professional practice and interorganizational relations, (iv) their precise role with respect to security tasks, and lastly, (v) their socioprofessional biographies. These interviews were complemented by six weeks of fieldwork in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, observing the everyday practices of frontline humanitarians in order to grasp disconnects between policy and practice. Alongside independent service providers such as humanitarian security consultants and trainers, representatives from the following organizations were interviewed: Action contre la Faim, American Red Cross, British Red Cross, CARE, European Commission for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, Haitian Red Cross, International Committee of the Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Médecins du Monde, Médecins sans Frontières, Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam, Save the Children, Solidarités International, Swiss Red Cross, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the UK Department for International Development. In taking into account a wide diversity of humanitarian actors, the aim of this article is not to sketch out definitive and deterministic outcomes of security management practices, nor is it to make a clear distinction between “NGO-style approaches” and “UN-style approaches.”10 The plurality of ways in which humanitarian actors practice security have instead been approached as constitutive of power struggles within the transnational humanitarian space and tensions over what is to be the dominant logic of humanitarian practice. Bureaucratic Power and Frontline Discretion: Struggles Over the Location of Humanitarian Power Initiated by headquarters bureaucrats with the help of technical advisors, the formalization and institutionalization of security management extends a bureaucratic logic of practice and control to the issue areas of staff security and operational access. Entrenched in wider discourses of legitimization on the need for greater “professionalism” and “operational efficiency,” senior managers and technical advisors removed from the frontline administration of humanitarian aid use bureaucratic tools to create a sense of homogeneity and coherence in the practices of field agents. In doing so, senior headquarters-based managers in superordinate positions of authority assume the role of official spokesperson for the institution, dictating in written form how international humanitarianism should be thought, decided upon, and done. As such, the genesis of proceduralizing and standardizing security policy stems not only from a belief in the controllability of operational environments (Beerli and Weissman 2016) but equally from the ambition of officials, senior managers, and technocrats to better control agents representing the institution across the globe. Bureaucratic practices are therefore produced by a specific group of actors in an effort to construct a sense of verticality (Ferguson and Gupta 2002), whereby the institution is “above” the individual agents that act in its name, so as to govern individual behavior. As demonstrated in the words of a former ICRC executive when describing the creation of a “security and stress cell” within the department of operations at the headquarters in Geneva, following the death of a well-known delegate in the field: Even before M.’s death, having spoken to delegates, having seen how they all operated in different ways, I told myself, it is maybe time to take charge of things from Geneva, for security. . . . There is always a degree of responsibility of the delegate himself when he becomes a victim. What happened in Mindanao, for example, it was a seasoned, experienced delegate, but experienced to the point that he did not worry or bother himself with security questions. He was confident in himself. And in the end, voilà, he was kidnapped with another person . . . and held in captivity for three or four months. . . . Following M.’s death, that is when a first memorandum by the Director of Operations was created. It was basically recommendations made to Heads of Delegations in the field on how they should behave. . . . The reasoning that we had within the Executive Council,11 because there was an Executive Council at the time made up of seven members, was to say, in the end, it was the behavior of the delegates that was very important. Of course, they have a certain degree of responsibility when in the field, but they need to know how to behave themselves.12 While certainly innovative at the time, today most “professional” IHOs have a plurality of methods designed to systematize professional practice through bureaucratic systems and controls. First, senior humanitarian policymakers and managers attempt to reduce the discretionary power of frontline humanitarian managers and assert forms of symbolic domination over the field by imposing the use of certain toolsets and standard operating procedures (SOPs), meant to guide the elaboration of field security regulations and strategies. Today's dominant humanitarian players, in terms of financial resources and, by extension, operational scope, have security specialists who hold either decisional positions or advisory roles and are typically charged with developing “tools” and monitoring developments in the field. Whereas in the past many field managers developed their own individual systems for “managing security,”13 in some cases recording them on paper, headquarters security professionals push for the centralization and standardization of “tools”: The thing is that when the post [of security advisor] was created, there were already security tools and approaches that existed, but that were either obsolete or were only developed in an autonomous manner in one mission or in another field. So, the objective was to put in place a policy . . . a concrete, standard policy for [the organization]; to define a strategy and to formalize it, to document it, and to share it with different field missions so that everyone would have the same comprehension of the security issue and the same approach. And then after contextualizing it according to where one works . . . whether it be DRC, Haiti, or elsewhere.14 Developing tools essentially refers to: the formalization of security awareness and security management guidelines, which should form the basis of staff training and serve as a template for the production of country or program-specific security plans; standardizing incident reporting templates, risk and threat analysis templates, as well as operating procedures in accordance with risk levels; creating centralized incident report databases and classificatory schemas to categorize geographical zones according to risk levels; and so forth. The very act of imposing such standardized practice demonstrates the efforts of headquarters security professionals to reduce the heterogeneity of practices in the field and inconsistencies within the organization's central mandate. As noted by Michael Power (2004, 26), “standards for quality insurance and management systems” are classic forms of internal control. When given a general framework established by headquarters, senior field managers are then tasked with writing up a field security plan based on the specificities of their operating zone, which must be “validated” by headquarters. A façade of manageability and control over the unknown and the unpredictable is thus “created by a material abundance of standards, textbooks and technical manuals” (Power 2004, 59). In some cases, an intermediary “layer” is added to organizational structures to better ensure the observance of security management frameworks on the ground, thereby presenting an additional measure in the verticalization of authority. As explained by a former headquarters official from the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), regional security officers, who travel from their regional base to perform regular “visits” to specific field delegations, may be used to be ensure that “all is going according to plan.”15 Organizations with regional officers not only oblige field managers to perform certain tasks but they also have a team of “intermediaries” scattered in the field so as to keep a close eye and ear on what is going on: So you see, the thing is that then the security officer in the field send to us [their report] for final evaluation. That is something that ECHO wanted. They wanted Brussels deciding. So the regional officer was like our eyes there. And then, Brussels say yes or no [about continuing operations in high-risk areas].16 Security management is not only a distant form of power imposed through centralized technical tools and operating norms but may also manifest itself as a very real, physical presence. Yet, despite the capacity of institutions to exert disciplinary power or simply to exclude individuals who do not play by the rules, bureaucratic rules are nonetheless limited in eliminating the discretionary power and decisional autonomy of frontline humanitarians. For example, whereas country directors and heads of mission may have to submit country security plans that respect minimum security standards, where such standards exist, it is then up to senior field managers to decide on the degree of stringency or leniency in enforcing such rules and regulations vis-à-vis the field teams they oversee. This is notably demonstrated in the variation of managerial styles and discrepancies in security plans exhibited across and within organizational divides. Although some material constraints, such as site selection and site protection standards, are more difficult to bypass and negotiate,17 greater flexibility may be exhibited in controlling the behavior and movement of field staff. As such, whereas Duffield's critique on the bunkerization of “archipelagos of international space” remains pertinent (Duffield 2012, 477), challenges to bureaucratic power exhibited in the everyday practices of actors navigating in and out of such materially and symbolically protected spaces nonetheless merit greater nuance. Unlike Goffman's (1961) total institutions, humanitarian personnel are not fully encompassed nor are their lives fully administered by the spaces and rules that are meant to “protect” or separate them from the “outside” world. Senior security advisors have also noted difficulties in enforcing total conformity with incident-reporting regulations. Although, in theory, senior field managers are meant to formally report all security incidents so that they may be recorded and tracked by headquarters,18 both global security specialists and field managers note that this is not always done in practice. While official discourse states that such incident-reporting systems are designed to enable organizations to develop institutional memory on the evolution of operational settings (Rocha de Siqueira, Leite, and Beerli 2017), reporting incidents to headquarters may also create opportunities for undesired intrusions or inspections into field operations. As such, in contradiction to the rules set out by headquarters officials, country directors may demonstrate a degree of discretion in deciding the necessity of reporting certain incidents, notably “small” incidents.19 Inversely, senior field managers may also draw upon the support of bureaucratic rules produced and diffused by headquarters staff in order to legitimate a stricter managerial style: As it is necessary to manage these humanitarians, to manage the masses. You have to manage people with different experiences, who don't necessarily go to understand a context or to understand a society, but go for their own reasons, which could be to save children, to practice medicine, to reduce human suffering, whatever the reason is, we [field managers] find ourselves obliged to run things like a summer camp, to treat people like children, to give them procedures for everything. And when you manage a group, it is much easier to be extremely strict. For example, when I was in Haiti, precisely, I knew someone. This person never when out at night, she was totally overworked. She never went out to drink beers. Ok, not very social. And she would literally lock the entry gate of the compound. So hyper-precaution, it's comfortable. Loosen up the rules, it is much more difficult for a field manager or headquarters to say “ok, now there is a curfew at 7pm” than to say “no, a curfew is useless.” And there, in such a situation, liability, it is individual. . . . So when you are a bit afraid or not confident, then you will be cautious and restrictive.20 Differential position-takings vis-à-vis organizational principles of hierarchy and power can therefore produce contradictory displays of obedience and contestation across contexts. Securitizing the Private: Configurations and Contestations of Difference in the Everyday Much like the colonial regimes of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Stoler 1989; Cooper and Stoler 1997; Stoler 2010), humanitarian organizations have vested a particular interest in the intimate details of the lives of their staff. Blurring the divide between “public” and “private,” security management not only limits what humanitarians may do during work hours but also attempts to govern and control their private lives. Seemingly banal freedoms of choice—such as where one lives, what one does in free time, how one is mobile, and with whom one chooses to have intimate relations—are in some cases restricted, regulated, and monitored by the institution. In organizations where such restrictions apply, humanitarian staff will typically become familiarized with organizational policies during predeparture training and field briefings. Some organizations may even require staff to sign a copy of the most up-to-date security regulations, demonstrating their formal acknowledgement, understanding, and commitment to abide by the rules. Governing measures imposed on individuals in the field are commonly rationalized through the analytical process of risk assessment. Risk assessments are therefore used to justify the imposition of mobility restrictions, housing restrictions, and coupling restrictions, although there may be relative inconsistencies between the types of risks that are identified and the type of mitigating measures that are implemented. For example, a great topic of debate relates to curfews. Although most organizations restrict their personnel from being outside of their residences during certain hours, such as between midnight and six in the morning during weekdays, little evidence suggests that personnel actually face greater risk during those hours.21 Regarding mobility restrictions, “international” humanitarian staff and “national staff” are formally forbidden from going to what are termed “no-go zones.” Whereas the former are banned from going into such designated areas under any circumstances, such regulations only apply to “national” staff during working hours or when they are formally representing their employer. “No-go zones” may be entire neighborhoods or specific establishments. Whereas a number of organizations simply use United Nations-designated “no-go zones,” which are often conveniently visualized on UN-made maps, others provide their own lists of restricted and permitted locations. In Port-au-Prince, Western-style luxury hotels were typically considered as “safe enough.” Whereas “national” staff are neither limited to frequenting such places nor have the salaries necessary to do so, circulating in such exclusive spaces habituates “international” humanitarians to luxurious lifestyles, causing them to develop distinctive tastes that might otherwise be relatively unfamiliar.22 Depending on the local context, however, such spaces may also be frequented by local elites, therefore representing a site of encounter between “locals” and “internationals.” Developing relations with “locals” may open up opportunities for “internationals” to follow the latter into restricted, though unthreatening, zones.23 As field managers and logistics coordinators are limited in their capacity, and willingness, to oversee every movement of international staff members, such bending of the rules is nonetheless easily executed. Through acts of disobedience and subversion, “internationals” challenge the categories, associated regulations, and restrictive spatialities intended to govern them. Even more invasively, “international” humanitarians are commonly asked to avoid having intimate dealings with “locals.” Given the absence of such forms of “advice” in generic security guidelines, it has often been assumed that organizations do not meddle in the intimate dealings of humanitarian staff, as long as their relations do not jeopardize the mission. As Forsythe remarks in relation to the policy of the ICRC: On the more general question of intimate socializing with parts of the local population that can complicate the official mission, the ICRC has a very permissive attitude. After all, what is wrong with delegates meeting and falling in love with and eventually marrying someone from the local population? (Forsythe 2005, 121) Yet, field-specific security plans often tell another story, one whereby “falling in love with a local” is itself problematic: Intimate relationships between delegates and local women or men are strongly discouraged; this includes locally employed staff.24 Field staff may also be interrogated about their sexual practices during debriefings. Although such polices attempt to curtail or render punishable sexual abuses, by advising against intimate relations with “locals,” they equally create new forms of exclusion and othering by advising “international” staff to have relationships with others “like themselves.” Though not always obvious, coupling within organizations and across organizational lines is a very common and accepted practice (Roth 2015b).25 While “international” humanitarians were likely always distanced from “locals” given differences in social and economic status, security regulations institutionalize specific forms of “acceptable” behavior which contribute to the reproduction of shared lifestyles and dispositions among an ever-growing global population of “international” humanitarians. Through the frequentation of the “go-zones” and authorized residential sites, a transversal proximity is built, bringing together individuals despite their differences. Discouraging “international” staff from developing close personal relations with locals also works as a strategy to reduce the chances of highly qualified field personnel from “going native” (Cooper and Stoler 1997, 5). As humanitarian work is defined by the extreme mobility of its expatriate staff (Fechter and Walsh 2010; Redfield 2012), the development of personal relationships may compromise the willingness of individuals to move from one mission to another. Personal pursuits are therefore capable of increasing staff turnover, which represents a loss for the institution. Yet, despite such attempts to control the personal relations of “international” staff, some expatriate staff privilege their personal lives over their professional careers.26 It is such constraints that may eventually lead to exits from international aid work. This can particularly be observed among binationals, given their multipositionality between conflicting administrative categories,27 or among foreigners who have taken up long-term residency in countries that they originally came to as part of an emergency response. As such, whereas field security protocols co-constituted by headquarters bureaucrats and senior field managers attempt to manage the lifestyles and subjectivities of staff through the production and imposition of categorical statuses, such designations of difference are simultaneously accepted and contested. Such opposing practices therefore represent the everyday tensions and competing logics of practice that structure the humanitarian space. Concluding Remarks: Beyond Manichean Conceptions of the International In examining humanitarian practices, both bureaucratic and everyday work practices, this article has emphasized the politics and paradoxes of organizational processes. More specifically, it has called for a dual evaluation of the professional practices and struggles through which binaries of headquarters/field and international/national are both produced and contested. My aim was neither to dismiss such principles of difference nor assume their total effectiveness but to understand the dynamics of socioprofessional differentiation and power within the humanitarian space. Given the potential effects of such bureaucratic measures of control, I have politicized both forms of contestation and subversion to avoid reducing them simply to displays of technical dysfunction or pathological behavior which work to stabilize taken-for-granted configurations of power. Parallel to the efforts of “headquarters” to maintain power balances in its favor through the production and dissemination of technical tools that combine mechanisms of security and discipline, this power configuration is constantly challenged. Humanitarian bureaucratic power is by no means monolithic nor omnipotent. Much like the “agents of empire” who proved to be less reliable than high-ranking colonial officials based in the metropole would have wished them to be (Cooper and Stoler 1997, 6), so too are the “agents of humanitarianism” constantly challenging the expectations of their HQ-based superiors. As opposed to being “absolute,” the structuration of the humanitarian space is constantly negotiated over time and through the everyday practices of the individuals within that space. In capturing the role of humanitarian bureaucratic practices in producing forms of difference and distinction as opposed to irresponsibility or indifference (Pandolfi and McFalls 2010), which are neither fully observed nor void of power, the normative positioning of humanitarianism as an international order is challenged. Far from being unimportant, the prioritization of security as a condition for the possibility of humanitarian action, as opposed to the degree of need, has consequences for the ways in which humanitarianism is practiced. Humanitarian security management is thus inherently paradoxical. It is simultaneously positioned by some actors as the necessary means to access marginalized populations and achieve a common humanity while enforcing principles of difference and generating exclusionary effects. Moreover, though perhaps distancing themselves in subjective terms from other elite social groups, “international” humanitarians have nonetheless become a central group in the governance of the “Global South,” possessing power over the politics of life and death of an ever-growing population of “beneficiaries.” Such dynamics of power then place humanitarians within a wider social structure of “transnational power elites” (Kauppi and Madsen 2013). Contrary to the dominant literature on humanitarian governance, this suggests the dually universal and exclusive nature of humanitarianism, while highlighting contradictions between philosophy and practice. Just as the European bourgeoisie aspired to be a “universal class” while paradoxically marking “its distinctiveness in particular cultural forms” (Cooper and Stoler 1997, 2), humanitarianism falls into similar traps of paradox whereby practicing humanitarianism actually produces new forms of inequality and difference (Fassin 2012). As scholars, it is therefore imperative to find ways to work on institutional constructions and associated dichotomies without ourselves “falling into such a Manichean conception” (Cooper and Stoler 1997, 3). ACKNOWLEDGMENTS An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2016 European Workshops in International Studies. I would like to thank the workshop participants as well as Polly Pallister-Wilkins and Médéric Martin-Mazé for providing valuable feedback on an earlier draft of this article. I would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers and editors for their constructive comments and suggestions. Footnotes Grant or funder information: Fieldwork for this research was made possible with the financial support of the Academic Society of Geneva and the Ernest Boninchi Foundation. 1 An expression that has been used to suggest that the humanitarian space, understood as the areas in which humanitarian operations are conducted, has been reduced because of insecurity. This practitioner-based notion of humanitarian space is tightly linked to the terminology of “humanitarian access,” which refers to the ability of humanitarian workers to access populations in need. Against the shrinking discourse, Sandvik (2016) argues that the humanitarian space is more accurately expanding, as evidenced by the increased budgets and operational activities of IHOs. 2 For a recent discussion of the place of struggles in practice theory, see Martin-Mazé 2017. 3 Such as legal protections for medical personnel and facilities as inscribed in the Geneva Conventions, or the responsibilization of individuals as demonstrated by security awareness guides. The managerialism of security has therefore emerged alongside other professional knowledge systems (i.e., legal, HR, operations) that historically provided the principal techniques to deal with the possibility of attacks on humanitarian field staff. 4 See Roth 2015a; Abu-Sada and Crombé 2016. 5 Understood as those organizations that occupy a dominant position in the humanitarian space by virtue of possessing significant material and symbolic resources. For example, UN humanitarian agencies, ICRC, and the “big five” NGOs (MSF, Save the Children, Oxfam, World Vision, and International Rescue Committee) not only have the biggest operational budgets but also play a predominant role in establishing “best practices” for the humanitarian space. 6 For example, whereas UN agencies can be described as demonstrating a high degree of bureaucratization, dominant humanitarian NGOs such as Médécins sans Frontières or Oxfam are comparatively less bureaucratized. This distinction is based on the complexity of organizational structures and degree of codification of organizational rules and procedures. 7 For a more general discussion and analysis of the proceduralization of safety and security, see Bieder and Bourrier 2013. 8 For a discussion on the need to cross-examine the bureaucratic and the everyday, see Hibou 2015. 9 For more on the construction of “formal” and “informal” organizational practices in relation to the academic division of labor, see Lomba 2008; Hull 2012. 10 For efforts to provide a typology of security strategies, see Schneiker 2013. 11 This body no longer exists but has been replaced by the Assembly. 12 Interview with a former ICRC executive [author's translation], Geneva, November 5, 2015. 13 Such “individualized” methods of operating are still common practice in less institutionalized humanitarian entities. However, the incapacity of international institutions, whether governmental or nongovernmental, to enforce minimum operating standards is becoming a criterion used by actors to oppose “professionalism” with “amateurism.” For more on distinctions of professionalism/amateurism see Siméant (2001). 14 Interview with the security focal point of an INGO [author's translation], Geneva, April 4, 2014. 15 Interview with ECHO security official, Brussels, June 17, 2014. 16 Interview with former ECHO security official, Brussels, June 12, 2014. 17 Interview with the Country Director of a National Red Cross Society, Port-au-Prince, July 10, 2015. 18 For organizations that implement such a protocol, incidents are either directly entered into a central database by the country director or noted in a standard document, which is then sent to the desk officer or global security focal point and entered into a centrally-maintained database. 19 Interview with the country director of an INGO, Port-au-Prince, July 12, 2015. 20 Interview with the former desk officer to Haiti of an INGO [author's translation], Paris, March 10, 2014. 21 Interview with the country director of an INGO, Port-au-Prince, July 8, 2015; Interview with the logistics coordinator of an INGO, Port-au-Prince, July 14, 2015. 22 Given attacks on upscale hotels in some African contexts, such as Mali, it would be worthwhile to investigate how such acts of violence destabilize the relationship between luxury and security. 23 Infractions of security rules and admission of such infractions were regularly observed and recorded during my fieldwork. 24 Security Regulations for the field mission of IHO “A” in Haiti 2015. 25 Interview with a humanitarian practitioner of an IHO, Geneva, December 16, 2014; interview with the program coordinator of an IHO, Port-au-Prince, July 17, 2015; informal discussion with a former humanitarian practitioner, Paris, February 23, 2016. 26 Informal discussions with three expatriates who first arrived in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake but decided not to continue working with the organization they arrived with in order to be able to stay in the country. 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