Title Author(s) Publishing Date Summary Keywords Dossier
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 Civil Society Observatory
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
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
The Obstacles to Decent Work for Migrants in Jordan: A Discussion with Alia Hindawi Jennifer Gordon June, 2020

Alia Hindawi, Programme Manager for Jordan and Lebanon at the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), is a longtime advocate for the rights of migrant and refugee workers in the Middle East. Born in Pakistan and raised in Jordan, Hindawi has worked for the International Organization for Migration and the International Labour Organization, as well as for the International Trade Union Confederation and the Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, among others. In this interview, she explains how the kafala (migrant sponsorship) system interacts with other formal and informal structures on the transnational, national, and individual level and contributes to the exploitation of migrant workers in Jordan, and recommends a set of reforms to address these issues.

Migrant Workers, refugees, Labour Rights, Jordan Migration, Mobility and Circulation
Unravelling Histories of Displacement: The Protracted Refugeehood of Syrian Kurds in Istanbul Adnan Keği, Saygun Gökarıksel June, 2020

This paper critically engages with Turkey’s refugee governance by offering insight into the daily struggles, aspirations, and longings of Syrian Kurdish migrants living in the inner-city neighbourhood of Demirkapı, Istanbul. It aims to sketch a multifaceted Kurdish geography of displacements beyond nation-state borders and to show how social differences and hierarchies of class, gender, and ethnicity shape greatly the experiences of the groups living in the neighbourhood. The paper is based on an ethnographic field research that consists of first-hand observations, conversations, and 25 semi-structured in-depth interviews with Kurdish migrants. The emplaced, ethnographic research is particularly promising to understand the daily lives of migrants and their multi-layered history of displacement and migration within and across borders. This history, we underscore, is not a past history, but one that unfolds in the present, within the current social hierarchies and in the midst of the ongoing crises in Syria and Iraq that poignantly shape the feelings, expectations, and memories of the Kurdish people currently living in Demirkapı. Each life trajectory, that we briefly describe, involves a strenuous effort to establish a relatively stable and enriching life under the precarious conditions of ongoing crises and authoritarian neoliberal capitalism.

Migration Governance, Migration, Migrant Workers, refugees Migration, Mobility and Circulation
Challenging “Migration Governance” in the Middle East and Turkey: Dynamic Power Relations, Contested Interventions, and Individual Strategies Amreesha Jagarnathsingh , Maissam Nimer May, 2020

This special issue aims to challenge the way in which migration is “governed” in the Middle East and Turkey. Migration governance entails the “norms and organisational structures which regulate and shape how states respond to international migration.”

Migration, Migration Governance, refugees, Middle East Migration, Mobility and Circulation
Gulf States’ Humanitarian Assistance for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Susanne Schmelter January, 2019

The humanitarian engagement of Gulf States has globally increased over the last two decades. This trend also manifests itself in Lebanon, where the displacement from Syria has lead to an unprecedented growth of Lebanon’s diverse humanitarian sector. Due to the weakness of state institutions and the absence of a concerted government strategy, UN-institutions took a leading role in the coordination of international and local NGOs. However, numerous Gulf-funded organisations function largely outside the UN-coordinated response and rely on their own coordination structures. This paper explores these structures and characteristics of humanitarian assistance for Syrians displaced in Lebanon running primarily on Gulf funding. Thereby it focuses particularly on two umbrella organisations, URDA and I’tilaf, that are largely Gulf-funded and coordinate the work of numerous faith-based humanitarian organisations. Based on ethnographic field research – which was mainly conducted in 2014 and 2016 – the paper examines positions and negotiations within these humanitarian structures. These ethnographic insights are completed by an analysis of the available data and literature on Islamic charitable giving and funding trends in Lebanon. Coordination among the different humanitarian actors has repeatedly been a matter of complaint and discussion in both interviews and international reports: The lack of comprehensive coordination structures, the subsequent inefficiency in the use of funds, and the unsatisfying inclusion of local stakeholders are among the main points of critique. Here, Gulf-funded humanitarian assistance for Syrian refugees in Lebanon shows alternative models and approaches in regard to operating standards, administrative procedures, planning, reporting, and contact to the local population. Yet, ad hoc deliveries with few administrative procedures and a lack of transparency simultaneously expose the Gulf donors also to accusations of the misuse of funds and diminish accountability towards donors, beneficiaries and possible cooperation partners. This, finally, raises questions regarding the possibilities of the multilateral system to provide forums for exchange, efficient coordination, and mediation between conflicting positions.

Syrian Displacement, Lebanon, Humanitarianism, Coordination Structures, Gulf Donors, Islamic Charities Syrian Refugees in Lebanon, Civil Society Observatory
Understanding State Incorporation of the Workers' Movement in Early Post-War Lebanon and its Backlash on Civil Society Lea Bou Khater January, 2019

This paper analyses the part played by the organised workers’ movement in the political and economic struggle for change in Lebanon during the first decade of the post-civil war period. It seeks to explain the trajectory of the workers’ movement, represented by the General Confederation of Workers in Lebanon (GCWL), and their successes and failures during the period in question. It investigates the structure and legal framework within which  trade unions and leagues were created, as well as their past political affiliations or alliances. In doing so, the research examined labour provisions, the structural framework of the organised workers’ movement, GCWL documents as well as newspaper archives, which reveal different facets of state-labour relations in Lebanon. As such, the paper begins by briefly charting the main issues affecting state-labour relations, then goes on to advance that the workers’ movement was significantly weakened by state and the ruling elite  intervention, repression, and eventually, state incorporation. 

Trade Unions; Labour Movement; State Incorporation; Mobilisation; Wage-earners; GCWL Civil Society Observatory