[P4745] (Im)Mobilizing Agency in the Context of Short, Medium, and Long-term Displacement in Jordan

Created by Rana Khoury
Monday, 11/20/17 1:00pm


Since its establishment in 1946, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has offered both short and long-term refuge to millions of displaced people from the Middle East and North Africa. Whether in camps or urban contexts, these refugees have been subjects of various national and international efforts to provide temporary aid and relief. Yet the protracted nature of regional conflicts has transformed Jordan’s status as a temporary refuge into a country of indefinite exile.
This panel examines the (im)mobilities of short, medium, and long-term refugees in Jordan. It consists of theoretical and empirical reflections on the intersections of everyday life among Palestinian, Iraqi, and Syrian refugees with international and state policies of inclusion/exclusion. Through the analytics of (im)mobility and agency, it considers how refugees endure the challenges linked to legal status as they strive to secure ordinary lives within exceptional circumstances. By placing the experiences of everyday life at the center of our analysis, we explore the legal, social, political, and economic (im)mobilities and struggles of displaced communities as they confront the limits and possibilities of life in exile. 

In this interdisciplinary panel, anthropological, sociological, and political perspectives bring to light practices of agency, mobility, and everyday survival from below, and the creation of sovereignty, legal regimes, and economic opportunities from above. Theoretical approaches elucidate sovereignty as a social construct, the political economy of encampment, and hierarchies of aid, in addition to cross-border mobility, everyday life and survival, and the navigation and production of gender and masculinity. These frames are matched by rich empirical analyses cultivated by years of fieldwork in Jordan. Ethnographic immersion and qualitative interviews with refugees from multiple communities, in camps and urban areas, and with humanitarian, legal, and government sources, reveal an iterative and dynamic set of relations between refugees, citizens, the state, and the international humanitarian regime. Agency and structure are dialogic, and yet bring into formation models of care and control that further our understanding of refugee reception in an era of record displacement.


Anthro; Intl Rltns/Aff; Pol Science; Socio



Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Rochelle Anne Davis

(Georgetown University)
Rochelle Davis is an Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology in the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. Her research focuses on refugees and conflict, primarily Palestinian,...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Michael Vicente Perez

(University of Washington)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Rana Khoury

(Northwestern University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Organizer;

Rawan Arar

(University of California, San Diego)
Rawan Arar is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of California, San Diego and a researcher at the Center for Comparative and Immigration Studies. She graduated with a BA in sociology from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2008 and...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Sarah Tobin

(Brown University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Discussant;

Lewis Turner

(SOAS, University of London)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;