Refugee Governance, State and Politics in the Middle East: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Refugee Governance, State and Politics in the Middle East

1st Edition

By Zeynep Şahin Mencütek


284 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780815346524
pub: 2018-11-29
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781351170369
pub: 2018-11-13
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The movement of displaced people, migrants and refugees has become increasingly important around the world, leading to a need for increased scrutiny of global responses and policies towards migration. This book focuses on the Middle East, where many nations are part of this global phenomenon as both home, transit and/or host country.

Refugee Governance, State and Politics in the Middle East examines the patterns of legal, political and institutional responses to large-scale Syrian forced migration. It analyses the motivations behind neighbouring countries' policy responses, how their responses change over time and how they have an impact on regional and global cooperation. Looking in particular at Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, three of the world's top refugee hosting countries, this book explores how refugee governance differs across countries and why they diverge. To theorize variations, the book introduces multi-pattern and multi-stage refugee governance models as two complementary analytical frameworks. The book further argues that each of these three states’ refugee responses is constructed based on three main factors: internal political interests, economic-development related concerns, and foreign policy objectives as well as interactions among them. The book’s categorizations and models (on policy fields, actors, stages, patterns and driving forces) provide analytical tools to researchers for comparative analyses.

Scholars and students of Comparative Politics, International Relations, Refugee Studies, Global Governance and Middle Eastern Studies will find this book a useful contribution to their fields.


"This original and meticulous study of comparative refugee governance is a welcome addition to scholarly work on refugee movement and state responses. Focusing on and analyzing detailed empirical data from Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, Sahin Mencütek identifies the humanitarian and political response of each of these countries to the protracted Syrian mass migration challenges from 2011-2018. Examining the variations in governance across these three countries as well as the changing patterns of governance over time, Sahin Mencütek captures with rigour and distinctiveness multi-pattern and multi-stage refugee governance that states formulate and implement in response to the mass influx. This book makes an important and timely contribution to refugee studies in general and Middle Eastern displacement in particular."Dawn Chatty, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Forced Migration, University of Oxford, UK

"Bringing together a wealth of primary and secondary sources as well as interviews conducted during fieldwork in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, Sahin-Mencütek has written a masterful work on state refugee policy in the Global South. Carefully constructed case studies are analyzed using a theoretical framework that integrates the role of policy instruments, levels of implementation and stages of policy evolution to explain neighboring country responses to the Syria refugee crisis. Sahin Mencütek’s book will be the gold standard against which subsequent works on state refugee policy will be measured." Laurie Brand, Robert Grandford Wright Professor of International Relations and Middle East Studies, University of Southern California, USA, and Chair of the Committee on Academic Freedom, Middle East Studies Association

"Movement of people across international borders has emerged as a leading factor in shaping and reshaping both domestic and international politics, contributing therefore to the utility of "linkage politics" as an explanatory model of today’s global politics. Zeynep Sahin’s book Refugee Governance, State and Politics in the Middle East intends to examine the motivations behind Syrian neighboring countries; policy responses to mass migration and refugee influx, how these responses change over time and how they have an impact on regional and global cooperation. The book shows in a brilliant way the very interesting dynamics and the interplay between local interests, economic policies and international politics, and promises to be a new addition to the literature in the fields of Migrations and Refuges Studies and Middle East Politics."Zaid Eyadat, Professor of Political Science and Human Rights, University of Jordan

"Based on extensive field research covering Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan - three of the world's top refugee hosting countries - this book is a very timely work. I welcome this valuable piece to the field of Refugee Studies. The author makes an original contribution to the field by introducing multi-pattern and multi-stage refugee governance models. Zeynep Sahin successfully and lucidly elaborates the political and legal responses of these states to Syrian refugee flows with a particular focus on their internal political interests, economic-development related concerns, and foreign policy objectives."Prof. Dr Ayhan Kaya, Jean Monnet Chair of European Politics of Interculturalism, Turkey

"Refugee Governance, State and Politics in the Middle East provides a timely, theoretically and empirically rich comparative analysis that explores refugee governance in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Sahin Mencütek masterfully develops a comprehensive examination of the development, motivations and shifts over time of refugee governance frameworks. This book is a welcome addition to the field of comparative immigration and refugee studies, addressing the underrepresentation of Global South responses to migration, particularly within the Middle East, a region that has over the past several years hosted more refugees than any other region."Kim Rygiel, Associate Professor, Political Science, Balsillie School of International Affairs and Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Part I Literature, Categorizations and Models

2. The literature on state responses to mass migration in the Global South

3. Categorizations and models for comparative analysis of refugee migration governance

Part II Turkey

4. Patterns and stages of refugee governance in Turkey

5. Understanding the shifts in refugee governance and refugee politics of Turkey

Part III Lebanon

6. Lebanon’s responses to Syrian mass migration

7. Forces behind Lebanese governance patterns and refugee politics

Part IV Jordan

8. Jordanian national refugee governance and its responses to Syrian mass migration

9. Drivers of Jordanian refugee governance and refugee politics

Part V Comparison and Conclusions

10. Comparison of refugee governance in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan

11. Conclusion

About the Author

Zeynep Sahin Mencütek is an Associate Fellow, Käte Hamburger Kolleg/Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, and a Senior Researcher, Swedish Research Institute, Istanbul, Turkey.

About the Series

Routledge Global Cooperation Series

The Routledge Global Cooperation series develops innovative approaches to understanding, explaining and answering one of the most pressing questions of our time – how can cooperation in a culturally diverse world of nine billion people succeed?

We are rapidly approaching our planet’s limits, with trends such as advancing climate change and the destruction of biological diversity jeopardising our natural life support systems. Accelerated globalisation processes lead to an ever growing interconnectedness of markets, states, societies, and individuals. Many of today's problems cannot be solved by nation states alone. Intensified cooperation at the local, national, international, and global level is needed to tackle current and looming global crises.

This interdisciplinary series welcomes proposals from a wide range of disciplines such as international relations and global governance, environment and sustainability, development studies, international law, history, political theory or economy which develop theoretical, analytical, and normative approaches concerning pressing global cooperation questions. We favour books that take an interdisciplinary approach and appeal to an international readership comprised of scholars and postgraduate students.

To submit proposals, please contact the Development Studies Editor, Helena Hurd (

Tobias Debiel, Claus Leggewie and Dirk Messner are Co-Directors of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University Duisburg-Essen, Germany. Their research areas are, among others, Global Governance, Climate Change, Peacebuilding and Cultural Diversity of Global Citizenship. The three Co-Directors are, at the same time, based in their home institutions, which participate in the Centre, namely the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE, Messner) in Bonn, the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF, Debiel) in Duisburg and The Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI, Leggewie) in Essen.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / Middle Eastern