Title Author(s) Publishing Date Summary Keywords Dossier
Crafting the good citizen, streaming the good king: Notes on press freedom, hegemony and social contention in King Abdallah II’s Jordan Rossana Tufaro July, 2021

During the mandate of King Abdallah II, press freedom in Jordan has undergone a significant contraction. This has progressively endowed the Hashemite monarchy and its organic incumbents with an unprecedented directive control over the circulation and the framing of events in the country – hence over the capacity to strategically filter from above the diffusion of politically sensitive news, silence voices of political challengers, and orient domestic and international opinion.

This paper aims to provide a preliminary assessment of the role played by the enforcement and the strategic application of restrictions on media freedom in consolidating King Abdallah II’s rule, by scrutinizing how the cumulative strategic application of press restrictions succeeded or failed to validate King Abdallah II's international reputation of a moderate and progressive leader, and legitimize the neoliberal upgrading of the authoritarian bargain with his domestic constituencies.

Right to Information, Press Freedom, Civic Space, Jordan, Social Movements Conflict Analysis Project
Beyond Humanitarian Relief: Social Networks and the Role of Shared Identity in Refugee Belonging and Support in Turkey Michael Kaplan August, 2020

A considerable body of research explores the ways in which refugees exert agency and establish belonging in exile. This scholarship challenges popular tropes that reduce the varied experiences of displacement to generalized themes of crisis, uprootedness, and suffering. Through exploring refugee involvement in Islamic communities in Turkey, this paper considers the role played by informal social networks and actors in both helping Syrian refugees to secure their basic needs, as well as in fostering subjectivities of belonging. Drawing on secondary research as well as on participant observation and interviews conducted with Syrians living in Turkey, it argues that attention to social networks built upon shared modes of identification, such as being devoutly religious, can offer generative insight into processes of emplacement among refugees. These networks not only make visible some of the problematic aspects of humanitarianism associated with non-governmental organizations, but also present alternative models built upon mutual support and care. At the same time, while recognizing the benefits of informal social networks, this paper also considers the potential for new boundaries and exclusions to emerge where others recede.

refugees, Humanitarianism, Turkey, Belonging, Syrians, social networks, Anthropology Migration, Mobility and Circulation, Conflict Analysis Project
The October 2019 Protests in Lebanon: Between Contention and Reproduction Marie-Noëlle AbiYaghi, Léa Yammine July, 2020

The Lebanese power sharing consociational system has structurally engendered recurring protest cycles: student mobilisations, labour and union mobilising, left-wing collectives, as well as a more routinised associative sector. In a long temporality, and looking at these movements in a longitudinal approach, changes they appear to be seeking appear to be marginal or quite limited, which may lead to the observation that contentious movements play the role of mere relief outlet within the system they are challenging, hence, contributing to the permanence of the social and political structures they are challenging. 
The past year has witnessed the emergence of a mobilisation cycle in the country that displays a continuity with previous forms of organising, although unprecedented in terms of its geographical spread over the territory. 
To understand how this current protest cycle unfolds, its dynamics, and limits, we propose to consider how social actors “move” in a contested, competitive, ever-shifting and evolving arena, rather than a homogeneous one. We rely on a three-fold conceptual approach that focuses on the analysis of the interactions and dynamics between actors, and the strategies they employ: persuasion, coercion, and retribution.

Social Movements, Civil Society, October Protests, Civic Space, Lebanon Conflict Analysis Project, Civil Society Observatory
Negotiating “Home:” Syrian and Palestinian Syrian Artists in Borderlands Ruba Totah October, 2020

Since 2012, the escalation of the Syrian conflict has forced the displacement of millions of Syrians into neighboring countries, as well as Europe. Tens of artists moved out of Syria due to scarce employment opportunities and restrictions associated with working under oppressive regimes. Some of the interlocutors in this research emphasised their attempts to stay in Arab countries and reconstruct their “home” by resuming artistic careers, but ultimately decided to move to Europe, while others favoured leaving directly. This paper examines how, in the case of 16 artists’ narrated life stories, various cultural institutions’ support, life trajectories, and relational dynamics come together to influence home-making opportunities in Arab transit countries. It addresses the challenges, potentials, and implications of home-making attempts of displaced performing artists.

Borderlands, trajectory, Mobility, identification, disentanglement, Refugee Crisis, cultural policies, relational dynamics, Arab performing arts. Migration, Mobility and Circulation
Faith-Based Actors in Şanlıurfa, Turkey: Reducing Tensions Between Host Populations and Syrian Refugee Communities Zeynep Şahin Mencütek October, 2020

Preventing possible tensions between refugees and the host population has become a policy priority for countries hosting large numbers of refugees. In addition to local, national and international humanitarian actors, faith-based actors from both host and refugee communities attempt to prevent any tension, as it may disrupt public order, migrant integration and social cohesion. However, little is known about the mechanisms and strategies used by refugee-led faith-based actors to take a role in reducing tensions between host-community and refugees. This article examines refugee-organised faith-based actors’ capabilities, limits and interactions with host city actors in conflict prevention, by drawing from the case of Şanlıurfa, a Turkish border province which hosts half a million Syrian refugees. Based on ethnographic field research, including interviews and participant observation, as well as the analysis of local media outlets, the paper focuses on the engagements of faith-based actors of Syrian refugee community with the local actors of Şanlıurfa. Findings illustrate that faith-based actors are able to prevent escalation of social tensions in early stages when they coordinate and cooperate with local political and humanitarian actors. However, their effectiveness in preventing tensions in later stages remains limited and does not fully eliminate the risk of violence, as such tensions are often underpinned by socio-economic factors. Finally, the case shows that faith-based actors’ engagement in refugee-host community relations lead to small but significant contributions that come with risks and challenges. 

refugees, faith-based actors, Turkey, Syrians, conflict prevention Migration, Mobility and Circulation
The Intersection of Labour and Refugee Policies in the Middle East and Turkey: Exploring the Dynamics of "Permanent Temporariness" Souad Osseiran September, 2020

The majority of Syrian refugees who have migrated to neighbouring countries in the Middle East and Turkey are faced with being “permanently temporary,” whether this temporariness defines their legal status, or state actor policies targeting refugees. The permanent temporariness of Syrian refugees in the region, while reinforced by various (non-)state actors, and produced differently based on the history and asylum framework of nation states in the region, aims primarily at incorporating Syrian refugees into local economies as surplus labour. This paper seeks to examine the incorporation of refugees as labour in relation to the development of migration governance in the region. Refugees as labour is used to conceptualize how refugees, as a type of mobile population, are approached as a desirable source of labour power due to their precarious position and permanently temporary presence. As such, the paper critically evaluates the ways in which refugees as labour are normalised. Lastly, it seeks to enquire how this impacts refugeehood as a political-legal concept. 

refugees, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Labour, Migration Policies, Asylum Politics Migration, Mobility and Circulation
Migration Emergencies and Multi-Level Governance at the EU–Turkey Border Nefise Ela Gökalp Aras August, 2020

Since 2011, political, social, environmental, and economic instability in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has sparked large transnational population movements that have stressed existing state and non-state migration management systems to capacity. This has created opportunities for new actors – including national and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), intergovernmental organisations (IGOs), and even regional and municipal administrations – to assume roles traditionally performed by national governments. Against this background, this paper seeks to shed light on recent changes in Turkey’s border governance, particularly concerning its relationship to the European Union (EU). 

The paper focuses on the roles of and interaction between various local, international and supranational actors (both state and non-state). Drawing on concepts of governance, the paper critically analyses Turkey’s approach to border management since 2011. It argues that the EU and the Syrian mass migration are the most significant forces of change in Turkey’s border management, which seems to have become more inclusive and open to different actors such as NGOs or IGOs, and Turkish state actors exclusively assume a control function, while NGOs and IGOs are assigned a care function. It is informed by fieldwork conducted between July and November 2018 at the main sea border-crossing points of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. 

border management, multi-level governance, Turkey, Civil Society, inter-governmental organisations Migration, Mobility and Circulation
“What We Lost in Syria, We Had Already Lost in Palestine:” Uncovering Stories Across Generations of Palestinian Women Born in Syria Mette Edith Lundsfryd Stendevad July, 2020

Knowledge about the stateless Palestinian population of Syria is limited, and the experiences of Palestinian women particularly remains uncovered. This paper argues that the loss of Syria as a safe home affects Palestinian woman born in Syria in several ways. The paper explores twelve constraints that bear an impact on women’s lives, including female experiences of statelessness, denial of “the right of return,” forced family separations and lack of access to uninterrupted family life, lack of freedom of movement, the inability to pass nationality onto children, denial of UNRWA services, lack of rights to political participation, unemployability, lack of access to protection as refugees, lack of rights to belong via citizenship, and experiences of racialisation. The structural constraints have disproportional implications with regards to the women’s age, education level, marital status, maternity status, and their current place of exile. The results presented here are based on women’s oral history as part of a decolonial intersectional feminist epistemology centralised in Palestine Studies. This paper illustrates a prolonged, transgenerational, and cross-continental marginalisation of Palestinian women from Syria, while also documenting their endeavours to speak up for their right to belong where they are, as well as to return to Palestine. 

refugees, Oral History, Palestinian Women from Syria, Gendered Statelessness, Decolonial Intersectional Feminism Migration, Mobility and Circulation
The Power-Interest Nexus in Responses to Syrian Refugee Arrivals in Lebanon: Tensions and Interactions between the State and the International Community Clothilde Facon October, 2020

تُركِّز هذه الدراسة على ديناميكيات القوة بين الحكومة اللبنانية والمجتمع الدولي في إطار الاستجابة لتوافد اللاجئين السوريين إلى لبنان اعتبارًا من عام 2011. تبحثُ الدراسة في العلاقة بين القوة والمصلحة لاستكشاف دوافع الجهتَيْن وأدوات التفاوض التي تستخدمانها بجوانبها المتعدّدة، كما تسعى إلى رسم خارطة التفاعلات والتوتُّرات والخطابات المضادّة القائمة بينهما. ترتكز المنهجية المُعتمَدة على سلسلةٍ من المقابلات المعمّقة مع عددٍ من ممثّلي المجتمع الدولي والمسؤولين اللبنانيين والجهات الفاعلة في المجتمع المدني. وتشتمل أيضًا على زياراتٍ ميدانية وتحليلٍ لمجموعة كبيرة من الوثائق، فضلًا عن دراسة الأدبيات العلمية والمصادر الإعلامية. وتعتبر هذه الدراسة أنّ مصالح الجهات المانحة الدولية تتخطى نطاق الشواغل الإنسانية، لتشمل اعتباراتٌ لها علاقة بالسياسة الخارجية الرامية إلى منع اللاجئين السوريين من الهجرة إلى أوروبا. في حين تُشجِّع الحكومة اللبنانية من جهتها إعادة توطين اللاجئين، كما تُشجِّع مؤخّرًا عودتَهم إلى سوريا، لا سيّما من خلال تطبيق سياسات تستهدف اللاجئين السوريين في لبنان. ويلفت المقال إلى بروز أنماط متباينة بين المجتمع الدولي والحكومة، في موازاة لجوء السلطات اللبنانية إلى استخدام "القوة المُنتِجة" لتعزيز موقفها التفاوضي في سبيل طلب تمويل إضافي.

refugees, influx of Syrian refugees to Lebanon, refugee governance, international community, Power Dynamics, externalization of EU borders Migration, Mobility and Circulation
Syrian Refugee Men in Za‘tari Camp: Humanitarianism, Masculinities, and “Vulnerabilities” Lewis Turner July, 2020

This paper summarises the findings of a research project on humanitarian work with Syrian refugee men, focused on Za‘tari Refugee Camp in Jordan. It argues that, for humanitarians, refugee men present a challenge. They are read in gendered and racialized ways, as independent, agential, political and at times threatening, and thereby disrupt humanitarian visions of refugeehood as a passive, feminised subject position. In this paper, these arguments are demonstrated through an exploration of some of the key areas the research focused on: how Syrian men were understood as objects of humanitarian care, how humanitarians understood Syrian men’s (non-)“vulnerability,” and Syrian men’s attempts to create livelihoods opportunities in the camp. The paper is based on extensive ethnographic participant-observation in the camp, and interviews with humanitarian workers and Syrian refugees in Jordan, which was undertaken in 2015-2016.

Mascunalities, Syrian Refugees, Za‘tari Refugee Camp, vulnerability, Jordan Migration, Mobility and Circulation