SOAS University of London

Centre for Gender Studies

Palestinian Refugees’ strategies of conflict Resolution: Reconciling Citizenship Rights and Return

'Championing the rights of displaced people’

Over three years, Dr Ruba Salih of SOAS Centre for Gender Studies has researched in communities of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, the West Bank and Jordan.

Funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation, Dr Salih collaborated with Sophie Richter-Devroe, University of Exeter, on a project entitled ‘Palestinian refugees’ strategies of conflict resolution. Reconciling Citizenship, Rights and Return.’ Rather than seeing Palestinian refugees only in relation to their return, compensation or resettlement, or as victims of nation-states’ wars or ethnic cleansing projects, the research sought to study refugees from a new angle, examining the daily life experiences of individuals of several generations, many of whom have lived for significant periods in the same refugee camps – some for their entire lives. As a result the researchers gained insight into self-made social, economic and political structures that represent creative approaches to conflict resolution.

Dr Salih said: ‘From their position at the margin of the law, refugees offer a standpoint from which to analyse and observe the transformation of sovereignty in the region and for understanding the contradictions and instabilities of nationality, citizenship and rights in the Middle East for refugees and non-refugees alike. Palestinian refugees offer an intriguing case study of how ordinary people do politics and reconfigure the radical project of democracy in the Middle East today.’

The research findings will be used to create a list of policy recommendations ,to be shared with various stakeholders, such as the European Parliament, Chatham House, Palestinian refugee organisations and policy think-tanks.

Research images