171213 How the Local Politics of Territories Reframes the Refugee Crisis: A View from Lebanon
Seminar Cities are back in town "How the Local Politics of Territories Reframes the Refugee Crisis: A View from Lebanon"
Wednesday 13 December 2017, 5 - 7 pm, Sciences Po, LIEPP’s Conference Room, 254 boulevard Saint-Germain, 75007 Paris
Lebanon, a country of 4.4 million inhabitants, known for its political-sectarian system is hosting some 1.2 million Syrian refugees, mostly residing in cities. In this talk, Mona Harg investigates the multilevel governance of the refugee crisis in Lebanon, unpacking the dispersed and competing views and interests of a plethora of international, national and local actors. Using fieldwork findings from four mid-sized Lebanese cities, she argues that the local politics of territories trumps the refugee “problem” as qualified and addressed by international and national agencies—namely in the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan (LCRP). Indeed, a coherent and coordinated response to the issue of refugees cannot be mobilized at the local scale where major security concerns, strained resources, and contested authorities coalesce. Her findings contrast with predominant managerial and normative policy recommendations advocating smoother intergovernmental cooperation, better municipal leadership and skills, and improved financial capacities of local governments. Indeed, the local politics of the refugee crisis in Lebanon reveal multifaceted, territorialized, and unstable configurations of power that are substantively transforming spatial production processes as well as spatial practices, at an accelerated pace. As such, if we want to remain relevant scholars and policy analysts, we ought to challenge the generic understanding of the “crisis,” and privilege instead an analytical framework centered on territorialized local politics, as well as ethnographic methods of study, which can then lead to informed policy proposals.
Speaker: Mona Harb, American University of Beirut.
Mona Harb is Professor of Urban Studies and Politics and Chairperson of the Department of Architecture and Design at the American University of Beirut. Her ongoing research investigates multilevel governance and refugees, urban activism, and youth in Lebanon.
Compulsory registration on this link (For the external people to Sciences Po: You will have to arrive 10 minutes before the beginning of the seminar and to provide you with your identity papers)