In the Lebanese context, access to goods and services is chiefly governed by informality where by, owing to the nature of the country’s political economy, migrants, marginalized, and displaced populations often ensure their central needs by resorting to informal networks. This study therefore aims to investigate the different coping mechanisms of displaced Syrians inside the Lebanese informal economy and within the exclusionary policies of the Lebanese state. This conference paper is presented as a summary of the major findings and themes resulting from more than one hundred and thirty ethnographic interviews conducted with Syrian displaced communities in more than six different localities in Lebanon in 2018. The study aims to address the following questions: How are different displaced Syrian populations in Lebanon accessing their basic needs in displacement? What are the mechanisms used within the informal sectors of work, health, schooling, and housing? Who are the actors involved (as mediators or “patrons”)? What kind of transformations have displaced Syrians undergone in exile? By attempting to answer these questions, the paper will draw on from the themes of replacement within displacement, displaced and marginalized communities’ adjustment mechanisms, and forced return. The article also highlights the importance of using a qualitative approach based on in-depth field research to allow for the identification of key indicators and to make the case for the diversity of experiences between displaced communities and persons residing in different areas in Lebanon.
Author: Manar Fleifel
Publication Date: 2020