Refugee Camps, the State and (Global) Governance

Fri, October 22, 2021 12:00 PM at 457 Berkey with a Zoom option

Rawan Arar, University of Washington.

“Refugee Camps, the State, and (Global) Governance
Abstract:  Refugee camps play an integral role in the management of forced displacement. I argue that refugee camps serve a political purpose for the state beyond housing large numbers of people. Heterogeneity among refugee camps allows state officials to achieve various goals including attracting international sympathy and aid dollars, developing a national humanitarian narrative, controlling refugees’ behaviors through the threat of forced encampment, screening refugees before allowing them access to the broader refugee or host community, and completely containing refugees by denying them the freedom to leave the camp. Refugee camps can also work in conjunction with urban settlement to achieve national-level development goals. These findings have emerged from 16 months of ethnographic observations in Jordan over a four-year period from 2014 to 2019. I also conducted 175 interviews in Arabic and English with Syrian refugees, Jordanian citizens, and government, UN, and NGO officials.

Lead: Stephanie Nawyn