Migration, Mobilities and the Arab Spring
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Migration, Mobilities and the Arab Spring

Spaces of Refugee Flight in the Eastern Mediterranean

Edited by Natalia Ribas-Mateos

Confronting questions of globalization, mobilities and space in the Mediterranean, and more specifically in the eastern Mediterranean, this book introduces a new type of complexity and ambiguity to the study of the global. In this theoretical frame an increasingly urban articulation of global logics and struggles, and an escalating use of urban space to make political claims, not only by citizens but also by foreigners, can be found. By emphasizing the interplay between global, regional and local phenomena, the book examines new forms and conditions, such as the transformation of borders, the reconfiguration of transnational communities, the agency of transnational families, new mobilities and diasporas, and transnational networks of humanitarian response.
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Chapter 7: Listening to the voices of Syrian women and girls living as urban refugees in northern Jordan: a narrative ethnography of early marriage

Ruba Al Akash and Karen Boswall


Syria’s turmoil, which is entering its fifth year and shows no sign of coming to an end in the near future, has forced over four million Syrians to flee the conflict, with many more millions displaced and uprooted inside the country. More than half a million refugees, many of whom are women, have sought safe haven in Jordan. Increasing numbers of refugees in northern Jordan have made the choice to leave the camps and head for the city of Irbid and the surrounding villages. This often means losing social and economic assistance from international and regional humanitarian agencies, putting the refugees at increasing risk. Living scattered across Irbid’s deprived neighbourhoods and in the border villages, Syrian refugee women have found themselves in difficult conditions that have forced them to cope with new economic challenges and harsh social environments. This chapter presents an ethnographic exploration of the risks and vulnerabilities of the Syrian refugee women living outside the refugee camps in northern Jordan, in particular the risks to young girls entering early marriage agreements. By giving a voice to the women themselves, this chapter sheds light on some of their concerns and choices around marriage, thus providing information that can contribute to the development of culturally sensitive responses on the part of policymakers and practitioners working with families in the region.

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