In Search of the 'New Informal Legitimacy' of Medecins Sans Frontieres

Public Health Ethics 5 (1):56-66 (2012)
For medical humanitarian organizations, making their sources of legitimacy explicit is a useful exercise, in response to: misperceptions, concerns over the ‘humanitarian space’, controversies about specific humanitarian actions, challenges about resources allocation and moral suffering among humanitarian workers. This is also a difficult exercise, where normative criteria such as international law or humanitarian principles are often misrepresented as primary sources of legitimacy. This essay first argues for a morally principled definition of humanitarian medicine, based on the selfless intention of individual humanitarian actors. Taking Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) as a case in point, a common source of moral legitimacy for medical humanitarian organizations is their cosmopolitan appeal to distributive justice and collective responsibility. More informally, their legitimacy is grounded in the rightfulness of specific actions and choices. This implies a constant commitment to publicity and accountability. Legitimacy is also generated by tangible support from the public to individual organizations, by commitments to professional integrity, and by academic alliances to support evidence-based practice and operational research
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/phe/phr036
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,938
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

185 ( #7,625 of 1,725,631 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

178 ( #1,170 of 1,725,631 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.