TRAFIG Working Paper No. 6

Figurations of Displacement in and beyond Jordan

Empirical findings and reflections on protracted displacement and translocal connections of Syrian refugees

This working paper is based on the empirical research on translocal figurations of displacement of Syrians in Jordan. It contains methodological discussions, central findings and reflections on these findings. Drawing on the conceptual framework of the TRAFIG project, this paper explores the central research question of TRAFIG, namely “How are protractedness, dependen cy, and vulnerability related to the factors of local and translocal connectivity and mobility, and in turn, how can connectivity and mobility be utilized to enhance the self-reliance and strengthen the resilience of displaced people?” The paper presents findings from Jordan, where Syrian refugees have sought refuge in host communities.

Syrian refugees’ stay in Jordan has become increasingly protracted, with the durable solutions of return in safety and dignity, local integration and resettlement remaining out of reach for most. In this paper, we argue that Syrians are de facto integrated in Jordanian host communities due to shared language, religion and socio-cultural ties as a pragmatic strategy for dealing with uncertainty and protracted displacement. We found that family- and kin networks have proven vital in facilitating and protecting mobility out of Syria and within Jordan, even as these networks are strained due to physical and geographic distance, reliant upon aid and financial support and socio-economic stress in the local labour market. We see that Syrians experience uncertain futures in which their mobility aspirations are unrealised, economic prospects are reliant upon and highly competitive with others, and connectivity with the host community is strained and can be improved.

Keywords: Protracted displacement, Syrian refugees, connectivity, mobility, refugee-host relations, local integration, agency, self-reliance, networks, Jordan

Authors: Sarah Tobin, Are John Knudsen, Fawwaz A. Momani, Tamara Al Yakoub, Rasheed Al-Jarrah

Cite as: Tobin, S. A. et al. (2021). Figurations of Displacement in Jordan and beyond: Empirical findings and reflections on protracted displacement and translocal connections of Syrian refugees (TRAFIG working paper 6). Bonn: BICC.

You can download the working paper here.

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