REFUGEE CAMPS AND HOME-MAKING PRACTICES AS URBAN ASSEMBLAGES: A study of the Palestinian and Syrian refugee camps in Jordan

Authors: Heba Alqub*,
Topics: Urban Geography, Middle East, Immigration/Transnationalism
Keywords: Refugee camps, Home-making, Assemblage Theory, place-making
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 35
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Refugee camps or “displacement camps”, as expressions, reflect the temporal sense of a shelter. However, a refugee camp has been depicted in a way that ignores the current global scene. That is, the real lifespan of such settlements has shown a tendency towards permanency rather than temporality. A sense of “home” has been engendered through refugee’s home-making practices over time. In this study, a discussion of the resulting space as a place imbued with meanings and aspirations has been brought to the fore, imagining them as assemblages assembled and disassembled over time due to different socio-economic and political realities. “Assemblage” as a theory first developed by Deleuze & Guattari (1988) is employed here to explore the empirical evidence of refugee camps located in Jordan. Thus, this study, first, explores assemblage theory as the theoretical framework used to view refugee camps differently. Second, through fieldwork that investigates a “home” instead of a “shelter”, this study seeks to trace different factors that constitute the current reality of a home, viewing it as an assemblage formation. Research questions: Why and how do such assemblages differ? what factors do affect these assemblages? Theoretically, this proposal offers a new conceptual framework of a “home” as both an idea and practice. By considering this conception, the conventional concept of “home” as rigid is unsettled, bringing the paradox of dynamic vs. static home to the fore. Such opposition between “mobilities & stasis” has been discussed before, yet, linking it to the Assemblage Theory makes it novel.

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