Iraqi Migrants in Syria
The Crisis before the Storm
"Hoffmann’s theoretical deftness and her acute ethnography of
the places, peoples, and organizations she encountered make major
contributions to our understanding of Syria, but also of the
conditions of refugees and strangers everywhere."—Laleh Khalili, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
"A lucid, theoretically informed, and original analysis of statehood and sovereignty in Bashar al-Asad’s Syria."—Laura Ruiz de Elvira, postdoctoral researcher, French National Center
for Scientific Research
Sophia Hoffmann is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for International and Intercultural
Studies at the University of Bremen in Germany.
Book Description »[Close »]
During the decade that preceded Syria’s 2011 uprising and descent into violence,
the country was in the midst of another crisis: the mass arrival of Iraqi
migrants and a flood of humanitarian aid to handle the refugee emergency.
International aid organizations, the media, and diplomats alike praised the Syrian
government for keeping open borders and providing a safe haven for Iraqis
fleeing the violence in Baghdad and Iraq’s southern provinces. Only a few
analysts looked beneath the surface to understand how the apparent generosity
toward refugees squared with the ruthless oppression that characterized the
Syrian government. In this volume, Hoffmann offers a richly detailed analysis of
this contradiction, shedding light on Syria’s domestic and international politics
shortly before the outbreak of war.
Drawing on firsthand observations and interviews, Hoffmann provides a
nuanced portrait of the conditions of daily life for Iraqis living in Syria. She
finds that Syria’s illiberal government does not differentiate between citizen and
foreigner, while the liberal politics of international aid organizations do. Based
on detailed ethnographic research, Iraqi Migrants in Syria draws a highly original
comparison between the Syrian government’s and aid organizations’ approaches
to Iraqi migration, throwing into question many widely held assumptions
about freedom, and its absence, in authoritarian contexts.
View other series books on Contemporary Issues in the Middle East.
6 x 9, 264 pages, 3 black-and-white illustrations, notes, bibliography, index