SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

Fear, apathy and the “new order of things”: Displaced Syrians and the reconfiguration of the asylum regime in Lebanon

Veronica Ferreri (SOAS)

Date: 6 December 2017Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 6 December 2017Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B102

Type of Event: Seminar

In January 2015, for the first time Lebanese authorities introduced a visa regime regulating the entry and stay of Syrians in Lebanon. The new restrictions represented a dramatic shift in the informal and temporary asylum regime that Lebanon had granted to displaced Syrians since 2011, who are not legally recognised as refugees. This reconfiguration has not been only characterised by the rise of a security approach towards the “refugee crisis” but also by the de facto denial of legal status to displaced Syrians through a new documentary regime, and the arbitrariness of the bureaucratic procedures for renewing residency visas.

By investigating Syrians’ reactions –fear and apathy– to this new “order of things” governing their lives in Lebanon, this talk explores how these different affective relationships to law and official papers lay bare not only distinctive ways of constructing displacement but also how these constructions are tied to social and economic capital as well as experience of state violence in Syria. Whereas fear took over displaced Syrians from Beirut to Tripoli verifying the impossibility to maintain their legal status after January 2015, for a Syrian community originally from Qusayr the new regulations were met with apathy and indifference. By unpacking this affective state, the talk traces the origin of this apathy towards state regulations and official documents in community’s definition of their displacement as tasharrud [a state of permanent loss].

By combining the cartography of power involved in official documents and Syrians’ experiences of displacement, this talk aims to unsettle how refugee-ness are theoretically defined with the concept of liminality or temporariness by questioning how displacement is also inhabited by the entanglement of permanency and loss.

About the speaker

Veronica Ferreri is a PhD candidate in the department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS, University of London. She was a Bucerius PhD fellow for the programme Trajectories of Change and junior research fellow at the Orient-Institut Beirut. Her research investigates the trajectory of displacement of a Syrian community from Qusayr to Lebanon and is based on an ethnographic fieldwork conducted between August 2014 and September 2015. Veronica holds a Master’s degree in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies from the Venice’s University Ca’ Foscari and an MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies from SOAS.


Organiser: Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

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