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The Haiti ExceptionAnthropology and the Predicaments of Narrative$
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Alessandra Benedicty-Kokken, Jhon Picard Byron, Kaiama L. Glover, Mark Schuller, Mark Schuller, and Jhon Picard Byron

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781781382998

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781382998.001.0001

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Haitian Culture in the Informational Economies of Humanitarian Aid

Haitian Culture in the Informational Economies of Humanitarian Aid

(p.156) Haitian Culture in the Informational Economies of Humanitarian Aid
The Haiti Exception

Valerie Kaussen

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the activist landscape in post-disaster Haiti by reflecting on personal experience as a foreign academic and would-be aid worker in the capital city of Port-au-Prince in the year following the January 2010 earthquake. The chapter describes involvement in a housing rights activist coalition, a collective of various Haitian grassroots organizations that was working to mobilize internally displaced persons. It also considers the role played by culture as a closed system in the two-way and behaviour change communications projects that were initiated in post-earthquake Haiti. The chapter shows how humanitarian communications as governmentality targeted culture, identifying particular cultural traits or behaviours that were imagined to support or impede Haiti's prospects of economic and social recovery. The chapter concludes by arguing that there are disconnects between humanitarian aid and their supposed recipients.

Keywords:   housing, Haiti, Port-au-Prince, earthquake, internally displaced persons, culture, behaviour change, communications, governmentality, humanitarian aid

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