Resilient Humanitarianism? Using Assemblage to re-evaluate the history of The League of Red Cross Societies

Melanie Oppenheimer, Susanne Schech, Romain Fathi, Neville Wylie, Rosemary Cresswell

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10 Citations (Scopus)
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The League of Red Cross Societies (LRCS) – known as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) since 1991 – has received little historical attention despite representing the world’s largest volunteer network and being an integral part of the Red Cross Movement. Formed in the aftermath of the First World War by the national Red Cross Societies of the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan, the LRCS aspired to lead in the promotion of global public health and welfare during peacetime. Through the lens of assemblage thinking and the five assemblage elements of exteriority, capacity to evolve, internal machinery, open systems, and desire, the paper seeks to understand the longevity and resilient humanitarianism of the LRCS. In doing so, the paper provides a new conceptualisation of the LRCS that helps to explain how it survived in the rapidly changing and increasingly contested international humanitarian environment of the twentieth century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-597
Number of pages19
JournalThe International History Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License CC BY-NC-ND (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. ©2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Assemblage
  • International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent
  • League of Red Cross Societies
  • Red Cross Movement
  • Resilient humanitarianism
  • Twentieth century internationalism


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