Wednesday, April 24, 2019
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
McKinney Conference Room, Watson Institute
111 Thayer St.
How do developing countries in the Global South – those that host 85% of the world’s 24.5 million refugees – maintain their sovereignty? Rawan Arar examines the case of Jordan, a state that hosts 2.7 million refugees in a total population of 9.5 million people. Jordan protects sovereignty in the face of porous borders and the interference of international institutions and foreign states, providing shelter, education, health care, and protection to millions of refugees—challenges that are exacerbated as citizens face high unemployment and strained social institutions including overcrowded hospitals and underperforming schools.
In this talk, Arar shows that sovereignty is a relational process enacted through quotidian practices not only from the top-down—by government and international officials—but also from the bottom-up through the daily decisions of refugees and citizens. Her research, conducted as an ethnography of the state, utilizes in-depth, semi-structured interviews in Arabic and English, triangulating interviews with Syrian refugees, Jordanian citizens, and UN, NGO, and government officials.