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The Cambridge Migration Society - Graduate Migration Research Series

TRANSNATIONAL RURAL LIVELIHOODS IN TIMES OF WAR AND PEACE: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDY OF SYRIAN REFUGEES IN MAFRAQ, JORDAN
When Apr 25, 2018
from 02:00 PM to 03:30 PM
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Cambridge Migration Society Seminar Series25 APR | Syrian Refugees in Mafraq, Jordan

 TRANSNATIONAL RURAL LIVELIHOODS IN TIMES OF WAR AND PEACE: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDY OF SYRIAN REFUGEES IN MAFRAQ, JORDAN

Ann-Christin Wagner, doctoral candidate, Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh

Discussant: Dr Paul Anderson, Faculty of Asian and Middle East Studies, University of Cambridge

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This paper argues that to make sense of the spatial deployment of refugee flows during the Syrian civil war, current displacement needs to be studied in the context of longer mobility histories in the Levant. Based on fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in northern Jordan with Syrian refugees originally from remote rural areas in the Homs and Aleppo governorates, it highlights continuities between pre-war circular migrations of Syrian peasants to Jordanian borderlands and more recent forced relocations to the same area. By asking how old and new mobilities constitute social relations among Syrian refugees and with their Jordanian hosts, it suggests applying the transnationalism paradigm to the study of the displaced. Yet, far from romanticising movement, my research paints a nuanced picture of mobility as an ambivalent lifeline for disenfranchised rural populations in times of peace and conflict.