"Provides rare ethnographic insight into the lives of Iraqi refugees in Syria during the few years that preceeded the country's descent into war."—Mashriq & Mahjar: Journal of Middle East Migration Studies
"Hoffman’s work combines anthropology, political science and modern history in the telling of a powerful tale of the unintended consequences which emerged in Syria as a result of its open welcome of Iraqis and others into the country."—Dawn Chatty, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Forced Migration, University of Oxford
"Hoffmann’s theoretical deftness and her acute ethnography of the places, peoples, and organizations she encountered make major contributions to our understanding of Syria, but also of the conditions of refugees and strangers everywhere."—Laleh Khalili, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
During the decade that preceded Syria’s 2011 uprising and descent into violence, the country was in the midst of another crisis: the mass arrival of Iraqi migrants and a flood of humanitarian aid to handle the refugee emergency. International aid organizations, the media, and diplomats alike praised the Syrian government for keeping open borders and providing a safe haven for Iraqis fleeing the violence in Baghdad and Iraq’s southern provinces. Only a few analysts looked beneath the surface to understand how the apparent generosity toward refugees squared with the ruthless oppression that characterized the Syrian government. In this volume, Hoffmann offers a richly detailed analysis of this contradiction, shedding light on Syria’s domestic and international politics shortly before the outbreak of war.
Drawing on firsthand observations and interviews, Hoffmann provides a nuanced portrait of the conditions of daily life for Iraqis living in Syria. She finds that Syria’s illiberal government does not differentiate between citizen and foreigner, while the liberal politics of international aid organizations do. Based on detailed ethnographic research, Iraqi Migrants in Syria draws a highly original comparison between the Syrian government’s and aid organizations’ approaches to Iraqi migration, throwing into question many widely held assumptions about freedom, and its absence, in authoritarian contexts.
About the Author
Sophia Hoffmann is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for International and Intercultural Studies at the University of Bremen in Germany.
Series: Contemporary Issues in the Middle East
6 x 9, 244 pages, 3 black and white illustrations