1st Edition

Refugee Resilience and Adaptation in the Middle East Reclaiming Agency in the Informal Economies of Lebanon and Jordan

Edited By Haya Al-Dajani, Maysa Baroud, Nasser Yassin Copyright 2023
    214 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This edited volume investigates how refugee communities in the Middle East have adapted to secure their livelihoods within the informal economy.

    Focusing on Lebanon and Jordan, which between 2011 and 2020 received more refugees as a proportion of their population than any other countries in the world, this edited volume investigates the informal mechanisms that Syrian refugees have adopted to fit into the informal economies of Lebanon and Jordan in the face of significant challenges and barriers. The volume investigates how legality, temporality, connectedness, gender, and geography, among other factors, have influenced the emergence of refugee communities’ informal adaptive mechanisms. Drawing on in-depth, original research among Syrian refugee tribal communities, agricultural workers, female-headed households, and micro-entrepreneurs, the volume provides tangible policy and practice recommendations to help to improve the situation of refugees and vulnerable populations that are employed in the informal economy.

    Highlighting the resilience and agency demonstrated by refugees, this edited volume’s original community-based analysis will be of interest to students, researchers, and professionals from across Middle East studies, refugee studies, informal labor economics, and development studies.

    Chapter 1: Introduction: Refugee resilience, adaptation, and agency in Jordan and Lebanon

    Maysa Baroud, Haya Al-Dajani, and Nasser Yassin

    Chapter 2: Forced migration, resilience, and informal adaptive mechanisms: A literature review

    Hoayda Darkal and Haya Al-Dajani

    Chapter 3: Informal livelihood strategies of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon: A conceptual framework and comparative perspective

    Martha Alter Chen

    Chapter 4: A review of livelihoods policies and opportunities for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan

    Nancy El Hajj, Zeinab Awad, Michael Younan, and Yara Mourad

    Chapter 5: Syrian refugees and Lebanon’s agriculture sector: Exploitation and absorption amongst an "invisible" workforce

    Nur Turkmani and Kanj Hamade

    Chapter 6: Informal livelihoods of Syrian refugee female heads of households in the Bekaa Valley Camps in Lebanon

    Rouba Mhaissen and Oussama Alaa Eddin

    Chapter 7: Syrian refugee micro-entrepreneurs in Lebanon and Jordan

    Ramzi Fathallah

    Chapter 8: The livelihoods of the Bani Khalid tribe in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon after the 2011 Syria crisis

    Päivi Miettunen and Mohammed Shunnaq

    Chapter 9: Conducting research with Syrian refugees: Reflections and experiences of researchers and practitioners in Lebanon and Jordan

    Maysa Baroud, Haya Al-Dajani, and Persephone de Magdalene

    Chapter 10: Conclusion: Reflections and research directions

    Haya Al-Dajani, Maysa Baroud, and Nasser Yassin



    Haya Al-Dajani, PhD, is a professor of Entrepreneurship at the Mohammed Bin Salman College for Business and Entrepreneurship (MBSC) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    Maysa Baroud is currently an independent researcher. Previously, she was a project coordinator and researcher within the Refugee Research and Policy Program at IFI, where she coordinated and contributed to the project leading to this edited volume.

    Nasser Yassin, PhD, is currently the Minister of Environment in Lebanon. He is also a professor of Policy and Planning at the American University of Beirut (on leave).

    "Al-Dajani, Baroud and Yassin illustrate a powerful story of resilience and adaptation by the forcibly displaced Syrian people. The refugee crisis is a global one, but experiences of forcible displacement and resettlement are complex and vary considerably between contexts and populations. This book sheds light on the brutal conditions faced by the refugees and their struggling host communities in Jordan and Lebanon, whilst emphasising their agency and resourcefulness in negotiating formal structures and institutions to survive. An absolute must read for learning about how refugees co-create an informal, community-led and grassroots network to gain a livelihood, a sense of belonging and welfare support. It is a testament to the power of resilience and the power of adaptation when humans are thrust into survival mode."

    Dr Sophie Alkhaled, Lancaster University, United Kingdom

    "For anyone seeking to better understand informal adaptive mechanisms and agency among Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan, this volume is a welcome resource. Through a series of case studies, the book emphatically engages with the question of how refugees from Syria overcome everyday challenges in securing their livelihoods."

    Professor Maja Janmyr, University of Oslo, Norway