‘Yes, Security, there is security. But other than that, nothing: an empirical inquiry into the ‘everyday (in)security’ of Syrian and Iraqi urban refugees in Jordan

Scholarship on security has recently seen a shift from traditionally state-centric, elitist and objectivist conceptions of ‘security’ towards human-centred perspectives, which put emphasis on forms of ‘vernacular’ and ‘everyday’ security, and promote bottom-up empirical inquiries to further our unde...

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Published in:The British journal of criminology
Main Author: Ajil, Ahmed (Author)
Other Authors: Jendly, Manon (Author); Campistol Mas, Claudia
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Published: [2020]
In:The British journal of criminology
Year: 2020, Volume: 60, Issue: 6, Pages: 1395–1415
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:Scholarship on security has recently seen a shift from traditionally state-centric, elitist and objectivist conceptions of ‘security’ towards human-centred perspectives, which put emphasis on forms of ‘vernacular’ and ‘everyday’ security, and promote bottom-up empirical inquiries to further our understand of what security looks like ‘from below’. There remains, however, a dearth of empirical material exploring ‘everyday security’. In this paper, we are studying the ‘everyday security’ of a particularly securitized group, namely refugees. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted between 2016 and 2017 with 23 Syrian and Iraqi urban refugees living in the Jordanian cities of Amman and Mafraq. We analyse how they understand and perceive their own (in)security: we do so by focusing, retrospectively, on the factors and events that led up to their flight from their home country (‘pre-flight period’) on the one hand and those shaping their present life in exile in Jordanian urban areas (‘post-flight period’) on the other. Our findings indicate that, while pre-flight insecurity is mostly defined around existential threats to physical integrity, post-flight insecurity is shaped by a more diffuse form of insecurity, resulting from the legal, economic, social and political limbo they are stuck in.
ISSN:1464-3529
DOI:10.1093/bjc/azaa037