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Department of Politics and International Studies

Mr Lucas Robinson

BA (honours; University of Toronto); MA (George Washington University


Lucas Robinson
Mr Lucas Robinson
Email address:
Thesis title:
New cities, new phones, new politics: accounting for political legitimacy among transnational Afghans and Somalis
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

Most refugees flee to bordering countries, and – increasingly – most settle informally in cities. Given the implications on stability, too little is known about how political legitimacy is established in these communities, and how these legitimacy dynamics affect political patterns back home. My study explores how political legitimacy is established and maintained within refugee communities living in urban areas of the developing world. I also seek to determine if this legitimacy is transnational in nature (i.e. transfers back home), thanks to increases in transnationalism and the introduction of new communication technologies. I hypothesise that service provision has a direct impact on legitimacy formation in these urban refugee communities and that this legitimacy is increasingly ‘bridging back’ to those at home, facilitated by new communication technologies. I am undertaking this project through two case studies of legitimacy: amongst Somalis in Addis Ababa, and whether this legitimacy can also be found within Somalia; and amongst Afghans in Karachi, and whether this legitimacy can also be found within Afghanistan.


University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (www.aau.edu.et)


International Development, Peace and Conflict Studies, Communications