SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Lewis Turner

BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Oxford), MSc Middle East Politics (SOAS)
  • Overview
  • Teaching
  • Research

Overview

Lewis Turner
Department of Politics and International Studies

Graduate Teaching Assistant

Name:
Mr Lewis Turner
Email address:
Address:
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Building:
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
299A
Academic Support Hours:
Thursdays 9.30-10.30am
Thesis title:
Challenging Refugee Men: Humanitarianism and Masculinities in Za'tari Refugee Camp
Year of Study:
4
Website:
https://soas.academia.edu/LewisTurner
Internal Supervisors

Biography

My research explores how the humanitarian sector works with Syrian refugee men in Jordan, and how refugee governance influences ideas and performances of masculinities among Syrian refugee communities.

PhD Research

PhD Abstract: Feminist scholarship has demonstrated that ‘womenandchildren’ become the central and uncontroversial objects of humanitarian care and control in contexts of conflict, disaster, and displacement. Yet very little scholarly work has attempted to understand the place of men within humanitarian practices and imaginaries. Through an exploration of the life and governance of Za’tari Refugee Camp, Jordan, in which 80,000 Syrians live, this thesis argues that for humanitarianism, refugee men present a challenge. Humanitarian actors read Syrian men in gendered and racialised ways as agential, political, independent, and at times threatening. Refugee men thereby disrupt humanitarian understandings of refugees as passive, feminised objects of care, and are not understood to be among the ‘vulnerable,’ with whom humanitarians wish to work.

Grounded in feminist International Relations scholarship, and with an emphasis on the embodied, material and spatial practices of humanitarianism, this thesis draws on twelve months of fieldwork in Jordan, including participant-observation in Za’tari camp, and interviews with humanitarian workers and refugees. It demonstrates that humanitarian power is exercised in masculinised ways that actively disempower its ‘beneficiaries’. In its pursuit of ‘global’ standards, humanitarian interactions with, and control over, refugee women are justified by a rhetoric of ‘empowerment.’ Refugee men, by contrast, are an invisibilised presence within the distribution of humanitarian aid, time, space, resources, and employment opportunities. These modes of humanitarian governance challenge Syrian men’s understandings and performances of masculinities. Yet when refugee men attempt to exercise agency in response to the disempowerment and vulnerabilities they experience, humanitarian actors understand them as problematically political and too autonomous from the control of humanitarian and state authorities, who attempt to re-assert their hegemony over camp life.

Publications

  • 2018 (forthcoming) ‘Making Refugees Work? The Politics of Labor Market Integration for Syrian Refugees in Jordan’ (co-authored with Katharina Lenner), Middle East Critique.
  • 2018 ‘Learning from the Jordan Compact’ (co-authored with Katharina Lenner)
    Forced Migration Review, 57, pp. 48-51.
  • 2017 ‘Who Will Resettle Single Syrian Men?’, Forced Migration Review, 54, pp. 29-31.
  • 2016 ‘Are Syrian Men Vulnerable Too? Gendering the Syria Refugee Response’ Middle East Institute essay series ‘Refugees Adrift?’.
  • 2015 ‘Explaining the (Non-)Encampment of Syrian Refugees: Security, Class and the Labour Market in Lebanon and Jordan’, Mediterranean Politics, 20(3), pp. 386-404.
  • 2015 ‘On Encampment and Gendered Vulnerabilities: A Critical Analysis of the UK’s Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme for Syrian refugees’, Oxford Monitor of Forced Migration, 5(2), pp. 21-25.

Conferences

  • Nov 2017 Economics Under Encampment: Re-Thinking Syrian Refugee Camps in Jordan. Presented at the Middle East Studies Association annual conference, Washington, DC.
  • Sep 2017 Engaging ‘Arab Men’ in Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Prevention. Presented at the 11th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, Barcelona.
  • Sep 2017 The Uncertain and Undefined Position of Syrian Men in the Refugee Response. Presented at the 11th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, Barcelona.
  • July 2017 Syrian Refugee Men and the Livelihoods Agenda in Jordan. Presented at British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) annual conference, Edinburgh.
  • July 2017 Making Refugees Work? The Politics of Labor Market Integration for Syrians Refugees in Jordan (with Katharina Lenner). Presented at BRISMES annual conference, Edinburgh.
  • March 2017 Self-Reliance Under Encampment? The Markets of Jordan’s Syrian Refugee Camps. Presented at ‘Beyond Crisis,’ University of Oxford Refugee Studies’ Centre biennial conference.
  • March 2017 Making Refugees Work? The Politics of Labor Market Integration for Syrians Refugees in Jordan (with Katharina Lenner). Presented at ‘Beyond Crisis,’ University of Oxford Refugee Studies’ Centre biennial conference.
  • Feb 2017 Labor Regimes in Exile: Cash for Work, Special Economic Zones, and Informal Economies for Syrians in Jordan. Presented at 58th International Studies Association annual convention, Baltimore.
  • Sep 2016 From Refugees to Migrant Workers? Employment and Livelihoods for Syrians in Jordan. Presented at The 10th Nordic Conference on Middle Eastern Studies, Odense.
  • July 2016 In Search of an Orderly Success Story: The Role of Spatial Practices in the Creation, Management, and Depiction of Syrian Refugee Camps in Jordan. Presented at BRISMES annual conference, Lampeter.
  • May 2016 The Uncertain Position of Adult Male Refugees in the Humanitarian Response to the Syria Crisis in Jordan. Presented at ‘Gender and Migration: Critical Issues and Policy Implications,’ Izmir.
  • Jan 2016 ‘Engaging Men and Boys’ in Campaigns Against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Among Syrian Refugee Communities in Jordan. Presented at ‘Masculinities, Violence and (Post-)Conflict,’ Belfast.

Affiliations

I am a member of the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies (AMEWS), British International Studies Association (BISA) British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES), European International Studies Association (EISA), International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IAFSM), International Studies Association (ISA), and the Middle East Studies Association (MESA).

Teaching

  • Introduction to International Relations (2016-17)
  • Government and Politics of the Middle East (2016-2017)
  • Conflict, Rights and Justice (2017-2018)
  • International Politics of Human Rights (2017-2018)

Research

  • Humanitarianism
  • Refugees
  • Gender
  • Masculinities
  • Politics of Jordan
  • Labour Markets
  • Refugees' Economic Integration
  • Feminist International Relations