Cultural Theory and acceptance based security strategies for humanitarian aid workers

Mar 2013  Journal of Strategic Security

publication descriptionHumanitarian aid agencies have relied primarily on acceptance as their primary risk, or security, management strategy for well over a decade. Evidence suggests, however, that this strategy has become ineffective as the number of targeted attacks against humanitarian aid workers has been steadily increasing over the past two decades. Despite the urgency of the situation, aid agencies have struggled to effectively implement new strategies and still rely primarily on acceptance as a mitigating strategy. This article examines the limitations of acceptance as practiced by humanitarian aid agencies as a strategy against targeted attacks and the challenges in adopting new strategies. The article uses Cultural Theory to explain these limitations and challenges and concludes with recommendations based on that theory for a new approach to security strategies that takes into account the social milieu of both aid workers and their potential attackers.

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