Spaces of Refugee Flight in the Eastern Mediterranean
Edited by Natalia Ribas-Mateos
Chapter 9: The question of governing Syrian refugees: an ethnography of Lebanon’s humanitarian regime
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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