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 9: The question of governing Syrian refugees: an ethnography of Lebanon’s humanitarian regime

Susanne Schmelter


In the interest of understanding the governance of the Syrian refugee crisis, this chapter explores negotiations between the differently positioned humanitarian actors. The Lebanese and Syrian societies are deeply intertwined politically, socially and economically, and against this background the small and politically unstable Lebanese society, with a population of around 4.4 million, is managing to host around 1.1 million Syrian refugees. While Lebanon’s socio-political fault lines have been deepened by the conflict in Syria, the Lebanese government is very weak and has not implemented coherent policies on how to deal with the displacement from that country. The government instead has deployed a laissez-faire approach to the many different organizations responding to the refugee crisis. Based on extensive ethnographic research carried out in 2014, this chapter examines negotiations between various organizations including UN institutions and international NGOs, local NGOs and Islamic charities.

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