Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Conflict Analysis & Resolution

Department

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Toran Hansen

Second Advisor

Alexia Georgakopoulos

Third Advisor

Ismael Muvingi

Abstract

Using narrative research study founded in social constructionism, I explored the lived experiences of thirty Afghan humanitarian aid workers in Kabul, Afghanistan, to discover how they experienced the war on terror. Ten participants were individually interviewed and their stories, personal experiences, perceptions, and voices have been presented in this study. I also facilitated a focus group of twenty Afghan NGO directors, and their views are echoed in the study. The participants represented a diversity of different humanitarian service specialties that cater to Afghan individuals, communities, and government agencies in areas such as education, human rights and good governance, food and shelter, to building bridges and infrastructural development. Based on a critical review of existing literature, the interviews addressed significant issues that affect humanitarian aid workers in complex political emergencies. I investigated the sociocultural contexts and structural conditions that enable and inform the personal narratives. There were six main themes that emerged from the participants’ narratives and each main theme had an average of three sub-themes. The resulting themes were: Security/Insecurity; Funding; Trust; Abandonment; Achievement; and Interventionism.

From the analysis of the storied narratives of thirty Afghan humanitarian aid workers in Kabul, Afghanistan, this study was able to create better understanding of how conditions from the war on terror create high-risk environments that expose humanitarian aid workers to kidnappings and violent attacks.