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The “encampment” of Syrian refugees in the Middle East: Overcoming the frontiers of vulnerability through work.

Abstract : While the debate on hosting refugees has largely taken place on the political stages of Europe and North America, the great majority of refugees from Syria have actually headed to the bordering countries. Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey today host close to five million exiles, who live in conditions of extreme vulnerability. The international aid that reaches the region essentially rewards these countries for their role as Europe and North America's subcontractors in managing the flow of exiles, and is of very little benefit to the exiles themselves. Moreover, to prevent the refugees from permanently settling on their lands, these nations restrict the aid while developing public policies of criminalisation that resemble the principles of detention centres. This throws the refugees into a situation of high vulnerability, leaving them no choice but to survive by their own means. The poorest turn to the "people-smuggling industry", setting off towards Europe on the long, dangerous and costly routes of exile. The others seek out stable ways to make a living, that don't depend on international or local aid, somehow finding niches on the fringes of the labour market amongst the poor local populations and former migrants. The quest for work is often effected through family networks, the intermediaries of the informal sector, and concerns only a few sectors of the economy. It is towards these strategies for daily survival by refugees that we directed our investigation during our ethnographic survey in the Middle East.
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Contributor : Delphine Mercier <>
Submitted on : Thursday, May 23, 2019 - 1:19:58 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - 3:48:50 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01819065, version 1



Mustapha El Miri, Delphine Mercier. The “encampment” of Syrian refugees in the Middle East: Overcoming the frontiers of vulnerability through work.. Conflict and Migration in the Middle East., ANR, IFPO, LEST, LAU, IFEA, AMU, Jun 2018, Beyrouth, Lebanon. ⟨halshs-01819065⟩



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