The humanitarian cyberspace: shrinking space or an expanding frontier?

Journal article

Sandvik, Kristin Bergtora (2016) The humanitarian cyberspace: shrinking space or an expanding frontier?, Third World Quarterly 37 (1): 17–32.

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Attempting to contribute to a more critical understanding of the role of technology in humanitarian action, this article explores the topography of the ´humanitarian cyberspace as it has emerged since the mid-1990s. As an analytical term, this is a composite of ´cyberspace, and ´humanitarian space. The article reflects on the relationship between the persistent features of humanitarian action, and new developments brought on by ICT technology. While much remains the same, the emergence of a humanitarian cyberspace also brings about a set of changed conditions. Technology – and the attendant idea that access to information constitutes relief – alters the modes of intervention, the relationship between actors, and the nature of relief. In order to develop a deeper understanding of the humanitarian cyberspace as a concept in its own right, the article explores this field through the prism of the ´shrinking humanitarian space narrative and reflects critically on the future of the shrinking space narrative.

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