The Middle East in Transition
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The Middle East in Transition

The Centrality of Citizenship

Edited by Nils A. Butenschøn and Roel Meijer

The violent transitions that have dominated developments since the Arab Uprisings demonstrate deep-seated divisions in the conceptions of state authority and citizen rights and responsibilities. Analysing the Middle East through the lens of the ‘citizenship approach’, this book argues that the current diversity of crisis in the region can be ascribed primarily to the crisis in the relations between state and citizen. The volume includes theoretical discussions and case studies, and covers both Arab and non-Arab countries.
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Chapter 13: Syrian refugees and citizenship

Lillian C. Frost and Musa M. Shteiwi


This chapter applies the lens of citizenship and non-citizenship to host state decisions about how to treat refugees, both legally and in practice, by examining Jordan’s and Lebanon’s policies toward Syrian refugees from 2012 to 2016. This lens situates refugee policies within the larger context of state-society relations and highlights the specific types of rights refugees can access. The chapter starts by defining citizenship and non-citizenship as well as the content of these relationships. The next section analyses Jordan’s and Lebanon’s citizenship regimes since independence and assesses these states’ non-citizenship regimes toward Syrian refugees, excluding Palestine refugees from Syria. The following section digs into the content of Syrian non-citizenship in these countries by looking at their formal and informal civil, political, social, and economic rights. The chapter concludes by highlighting the similarities in how states treat citizen and non-citizen groups as well as the utility of engaging non-citizenship as a concept.

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