Our Book of the Month choice for August

The SSL ‘Book of the Month’ feature highlights a book in our collection that has been chosen by one of our Subject Consultants. This may be a recent addition to our stock or an existing item that we would like to share with you.


Imposing aid: emergency assistance to refugees

Barbara Harrell-Bond

Oxford University Press, 1986

Shelfmark: HV640.5.U35.HAR




The Book of the Month for August has been selected by Sarah Rhodes, Subject Consultant for Forced Migration, in memory of Professor Barbara Harrell-Bond who died on 11th July 2018.




Book Overview

Barbara Harrell-Bond’s seminal book Imposing Aid, was the first independent appraisal of an assistance programme mounted by international agencies in response to an emergency influx of refugees – in this case the Ugandans who spilled over the Sudanese border in the early months of 1982. Since its publication in 1986, it has been widely hailed as a key text in Anthropology and Refugee Studies, with far-reaching implications for policy and theory. Today the relevance of the themes raised in Imposing Aid, and its enduring influence on the shape of the discipline continue: the way humanitarian organisations work or do not work; the critical study of how such organisations may be paternalistic or unaccountable; the conflicts of interest and disparities of power which characterise the interactions between refugees and their ostensible helpers; and the place of refugees in the complex order of international emergency relief settings. Thirty years after the publication of Imposing Aid, these issues remain as urgent as ever. (Dr Will Jones, Refugee Studies Centre (RSC) Trinity Term Seminar Series, 2016).


Refugee rights were more than just an academic area of study for Barbara, keeping the issue at the centre of the humanitarianism agenda and at the forefront of public consciousness, was a life-long commitment that she advocated for until the day she died. Refugee rights continue to have increasing social resonance today, an age when asylum and protections for refugees are the subject of continuous, fierce debate.

Professor Matthew Gibney, current Director of the RSC, said: ‘The RSC mourns the loss of its founder, a visionary scholar and a guiding light for people across the world who strive for a securer world for refugees’.

Read the full tribute here.

Where can I find it?

We have 5 loanable copies of this book and an additional copy that is for library use only. One of our loanable copies is currently displayed on top of our New Books Display Area (located around the corner from our Library Issue Desk). You are welcome to remove it from the display and take a look at it. The shelfmark for the title is   HV640.5.U35.HAR

We also have an electronic copy of the title. This can be accessed directly from a library computer or if you are accessing the title remotely, sign in with your SSO.  A link to it can be found on SOLO.

What would your SSL Book of the Month be? Do you have a favourite book in our collection? If so, we would love to know what it is. Add a comment below or email us.

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