Launch of The Refugee System: A Sociological Approach

  • DATE / TIME:
    2022•12•09    12:00 - 13:30

    This webinar, hosted by UNU-CPR, was held to launch The Refugee System: A Sociological Approach – the story of how one Syrian family, spread across several countries, tried to survive the civil war and live in dignity. The story forms a backdrop to explore and explain the refugee system and attempts to answer several questions: Why do some people facing violence and persecution flee, while others stay? How do households in danger decide who should go, where to relocate, and whether to keep moving? What are the conditions in countries of origin, transit, and reception that shape people’s options?

    Departing from studies that create siloes of knowledge about just one setting or ‘solution’ to displacement, the book’s sociological approach describes a global system that shapes refugee movements. Changes in one part of the system reverberate elsewhere. Feedback mechanisms change processes across time and place. Earlier migrations shape later movements. Immobility on one path redirects migration along others. Past policies, laws, population movements, and regional responses all contribute to shape states’ responses in the present. As the book’s authors illustrate, all these processes are forged by deep inequalities of economic, political, military, and ideological power.

    Presenting a sharp analysis of refugee structures worldwide, this book offers invaluable insights for students and scholars of international migration and refugee studies across the social sciences, as well as policy makers and those involved in refugee and asylum work.

    About the authors

    Rawan Arar is Assistant Professor in the Department of Law, Societies, and Justice at the University of Washington. She previously held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. Prof. Arar has published on refugee issues, migration, and ethnicity in several journals including the Annual Review of Sociology, the Journal of Middle East Law and Governance, Nations and Nationalism, and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

    David Scott FitzGerald is Theodore E. Gildred Chair in US-Mexican Relations, Professor of Sociology, and Co-Director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California San Diego. His award-winning books include Refuge beyond Reach: How Rich Democracies Repel Asylum Seekers (Oxford University Press 2019), Culling the Masses: The Democratic Origins of Racist Immigration Policy in the Americas (Harvard University Press 2014), and A Nation of Emigrants: How Mexico Manages its Migration (University of California Press 2009).

    Confirmed speakers

    Zakaria (Zak) Al Shmaly is a Syrian scholar who researches the intersection between governance and asylum policy. He has worked in Europe and the Middle East with humanitarian and international organizations such as the International NGO Safety Organization (INSO), Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), and the European Parliament. He holds a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences from the University College Freiburg, an MA from the European University Institute, and is currently a Dahrendorf Fellow at Oxford University and a Doctoral Fellow at the United Nations University (UNU-MERIT).

    Tamirace Fakhoury is Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and Society at Aalborg University in Denmark. She is also the Scientific advisor to the Kuwait Chair at Sciences Po in Paris (2020-2022). Prior to joining AAU, Tamirace was an Associate Professor at the Lebanese American University and Director of the Institute for Social Justice and Conflict Resolution (ISJCR). From 2012 until 2016, she was a visiting Assistant Professor in the summer sessions at the University of California in Berkeley. Tamirace is currently a co-investigator in the multidisciplinary GCRF-funded project, ‘Rights for Time,’ which shifts the discourse and practice of humanitarian protection by exploring how time conditions war, displacement and violence.

    Madeline Garlick is Chief of Protection Policy and Legal Advice in the Division of International Protection at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva. She was responsible for UNHCR’s liaison to the EU institutions from 2004-2013. She has also served with the UN in Iraq, in Cyprus and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She has worked with the Migration Policy Institute (Europe) and the Open Society Foundations on research and policy analysis. She teaches on an occasional basis at Sciences Po, Paris, and is qualified as a barrister and solicitor in Victoria, Australia.

    The webinar was moderated by Heaven Crawley, Head of the Equitable Development and Migration programme at UNU-CPR.