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Humanitarianism, securitization, and containment in Jordan's Za'atari Refugee Camp

British Journal of Sociology

Published online on

Abstract

["The British Journal of Sociology, EarlyView. ", "\nAbstract\nThrough a case study on Za'atari, the largest Syrian refugee camp in Jordan, this paper critically explores a contemporary example of intersection between local and global humanitarian and securitization processes in refugee governance. The paper argues that Syrian refugees have been subjected to humanitarian care and securitized treatment, with their construction in terms of potential threat to State security interests spiking in correlation with insecurities over the expansion of the “Islamic State” (IS). The paper tracks the suit of measures implemented by the host Jordanian State, with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to produce docile refugee subjects of “humanitarian government” in a closed camp. It notes how the UNHCR invariably augments and extends the remit of Jordanian State power at the expense of refugee rights, in the name of ensuring refugee and aid worker security and the effectiveness of the aid operation. The camp plays a critical role in the performative politics of containment targeting local and global audiences.\n"]