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Palestinians and Iraqis in Exile: Towards an Urban Geography of Refugees' Settlement.

Abstract : Most of the refugees in Lebanon and Syria, whether they are Palestinians, Iraqis or coming from other countries, live in urban areas. Their mode of settlement is drawing a new urban geography. In the suburbs of Beirut and Damascus new polarities are emerging, challenging the classical distinction operated between camp dwellers and urban refugees. Since the 1970's, refugee studies have produced a wide range of categories to describe refugee settlement such as urban refugees, camp dwellers, self settled refugees, etc. These categories are often considered through the refugees' residency place and not according to their short and/or long term spatial practices. Refugees experience different scales of mobility (daily movements, temporary and long term emigration, forced displacement, etc.) and develop a wide range of practices (economic, political, cultural and/or social activities) that cross the boundaries of the camp or the neighbourhood where they live. Individual trajectories also contribute to blur the distinction between urban refugees and camp dwellers. Many refugees reside successively inside and outside camps during their life. The aim of this presentation is to examine the role of mobility as a key practice to take into consideration because it reveals the complementarities of different urban spaces, and the different kinds of relations they have. In Beirut and Damascus refugee camps themselves host temporarily or more permanently different waves and groups of refugees. New immigrant communities also settle in the camps and/or around the camps. In Damascus for example, Iraqis refugees settle in neighbourhoods composed of Palestinian refugees, internally displaced Syrians from the occupied Golan and internal migrants coming from the countryside. These areas, where refugees and migrants settle, contribute to the contemporary urban dynamics of their surrounding cities, and become themselves new centralities. This presentation is based on a compared fieldwork on Palestinians refugees in Lebanon and Iraqi refugees in Syria.
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Contributor : Kamel Doraï <>
Submitted on : Thursday, April 9, 2009 - 10:12:05 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, September 5, 2018 - 1:30:06 PM


  • HAL Id : halshs-00374605, version 1



Mohamed Kamel Doraï. Palestinians and Iraqis in Exile: Towards an Urban Geography of Refugees' Settlement.. Anywhere But Now: Symposium and Screenings on Human Flows and Geographies of Belonging in the Eastern Mediterranean, Apr 2009, Beyrouth, Lebanon. ⟨halshs-00374605⟩



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