Confronting the Imperial Narrative: Counter-Narratives from Iraqi and Syrian Refugees in Jordan

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2018-05-22

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Abstract

This thesis explores how individual refugees respond to imposed narratives about their communities. Iraqi and Syrian refugees in Amman, Jordan (n=40) were interviewed during the summer of 2018. Each interviewee’s response was recorded and coded to gain insight into attitudes towards Western institutions responsible for resettlement cases. Given that normative social roles can be constructed in institutional narratives that serve to sustain power inequalities, the interviews reveal how these roles that define the “refugee” are constructed, naturalized, and challenged in displaced communities. The counter narratives from those who were interviewed directly point to the way institutional narratives shape neo-liberal forms of control centered on human rights rhetoric and explain how states use the commodification of suffering through the normative refugee asylum story to distance and other the marginalized. Finally, this thesis finds that refugees’ resentment towards imperial control, which comes out of counter-narratives, is centered around an unease with Western power and the rise of the military-industrial complex.

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Ahmed, Maha (2018). Confronting the Imperial Narrative: Counter-Narratives from Iraqi and Syrian Refugees in Jordan. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/16760.


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