This paper discusses practices and paradigms that expatriate and national humanitarian aid workers use to deal with major problems they encounter in their daily work. It views ‘Aidland’ as an arena where different actors encounter, negotiate and shape the outcome of aid. One of the main findings is that there are consistent differences in the way expatriate and national aid actors perceive problems in their field, as well as in the way they respond to these issues. The paper shows that these perceptions often translate into heterogeneous paradigms and practices between expatriate and national staff, particularly around remote control aid, partnerships and donor reporting. These findings are highly relevant in the current context of ‘localisation’, suggesting that the so-called North/South divide continues to exist and more explicit attention should be given in aid research to the heterogeneous strategies of different actors working in the aid sector. The paper is based on analysis of data derived from a multiple-round Delphi expert panel study involving 30 highly experienced humanitarian aid practitioners.

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Keywords aid and capital flows, conflict and security, governance, Humanitarianism
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Series VSNU Open Access deal
Journal Third World Quarterly: journal of emerging areas
Note corresponding author at International Institute of Social Studies,
van Voorst, R.S. (2019). Praxis and paradigms of local and expatriate workers in ‘Aidland’. Third World Quarterly: journal of emerging areas, 40(12), 2111–2128. doi:10.1080/01436597.2019.1630269