Elisabeth Olivius of Umeå University reviews The Ideal Refugees: Gender, Islam, and the Sahrawi Politics of Survival : The Concerned Women of Buduburam: Refugee Activists and Humanitarian Dilemmas, by Elizabeth Holzer. Dr. Holzer draws on fifteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in Ghana and subsequent interviews with participants now returned to Liberia, Holzer exposes a distinctive form of rule that accompanies humanitarian intervention: compassionate authoritarianism. Humanitarians strive to relieve the suffering of refugees, but refugees have little or no access to grievance procedures, and humanitarian authorities face little or no accountability for political failures. By casting humanitarians and refugees as co-creators of a shared sociopolitical world, Holzer throws into sharp relief the contradictory elements of humanitarian crisis and of transnational interventions in poor countries more broadly.
Read the book review at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/imre.12350/full.