L’ICM accueille Are John Knudsen

Are John Knudsen est Profes­seur à l’Ins­titut Chr. Michelsen (CMI) et détient un doctorat en anthro­po­logie sociale de l’Uni­ver­sité de Bergen (UiB). Il est spécia­liste des dépla­ce­ments forcés, des camps de réfu­giés, notam­ment en milieu urbain au Moyen-Orient, en parti­cu­lier au Liban. Ses recherches portent sur l’ur­ba­nisme d’ur­gence et des réfu­giés, ainsi que sur l’ar­chi­tec­ture des abris. Knudsen est l’édi­teur du livre à paraître Conti­nental Encamp­ment : Genea­lo­gies of Huma­ni­ta­rian Contain­ment in the Middle East and Europe (Berghahn, 2023) et d’une nouvelle antho­logie sur : Urban Displa­ce­ment : Syria’s Refu­gees in the Middle East (Berghahn, en cours de révision).

Page person­nelle : https://​www​.cmi​.no/​s​t​a​f​f​/​a​r​e​-​k​nudsen.

Programme d’interventions

Mercredi 12 octobre 2022 — Sémi­naire commun du dépar­te­ment Policy with Kamel Doraï (CNRS, U Poitiers & fellow de l’ICM)


  • 09h30-11h30
  • Salle1.023 du Bâti­ment Recherche Sud, Campus Condorcet, Aubervilliers

Emer­gency Urba­nism : Self-Settled Syrian Refu­gees in Two Beirut Tene­ment Buil­dings par Are John Knudsen

The Syrian refugee crisis is predo­mi­nantly urban, but what does urban displa­ce­ment, self-settle­ment and indeed being an “urban refugee” entail ? Reflec­tive of the urban dimen­sion of the crisis and the “urban turn” in refugee studies, this presen­ta­tion examines the causes and conse­quences of refugee self-settle­ment in two Beirut tene­ment buil­dings and discusses the connec­tion between urban displa­ce­ment and the built envi­ron­ment for an unders­tan­ding of emer­gency urba­nism in Middle East host cities. Micro-studies of tene­ment buil­dings in two Beirut neigh­bo­rhoods reveal diffe­rences in both settle­ment processes and outcomes, as well as housing and rental dyna­mics between (slum-)landlords and impo­ve­ri­shed tenants. The run-down tene­ment buil­dings’ history, contested owner­ship and loca­tion are impor­tant examples of the urban dimen­sion of the current displa­ce­ment crises and offer a glimpse into the self-settle­ment of Syrian refu­gees in middle-class (Hamra) and poverty-stri­cken (Sabra) areas. The trans­for­ma­tion of neigh­bo­rhoods and multi-storey buil­dings represent an infor­ma­li­za­tion of refuge, whereby displaced people seek refuge in cities and trans­form neigh­bou­rhoods and shel­ters not only as city dwel­lers, but as city makers. The buil­dings can hence be “read” as vertical migra­tion histo­ries and spatial archives provi­ding a genea­logy of displa­ce­ment and empla­ce­ment that can inform the study of emer­gency and refugee urba­nism and point to solu­tions in cities for “urban refu­gees” lacking access to affor­dable housing.

From camp to cities. A reflec­tion based on the Pales­ti­nian and Syrian refugee camps” expe­rience in Lebanon and Jordan par Kamel Doraï

Can refugee camps be consi­dered as urban spaces ? How can we qualify these spaces, subject to specific legal regimes, whose inha­bi­tants when they are them­selves refu­gees, have a legal status which limits their access to property, labour market, health or educa­tion. From a morpho­lo­gical point of view, camps seem similar to the informal settle­ments of the main Middle Eastern cities, although, often due to demo­gra­phic pres­sure, they are more densely built. Camps are the result of a long history of hosting and settling refugee groups, since the crea­tion in the 1920s of camps to host Arme­nian refu­gees fleeing the geno­cide. Some of these camps are now hosting Pales­ti­nian refu­gees. The progres­sive urba­ni­za­tionof the camps is the result of several dyna­mics : the perma­nence over time of these recep­tion areas, the succes­sive arrival of different groups of refu­gees and their protracted settle­ment. Since 2012, new camps have been created in Jordan to host Syrian refu­gees. Zaatari camp has gone through deep trans­for­ma­tions since its crea­tion like most of the informal settle­ments in the region. This contri­bu­tion proposes to ques­tion the dyna­mics of inte­gra­tion of camps and their inha­bi­tants in the margin of the main Middle Eastern cities.

English version

Are John Knudsen is Research Professor at the Chr. Michelsen Insti­tute (CMI) and holds a PhD in social anthro­po­logy from the Univer­sity of Bergen (UiB). He specia­lizes forced displa­ce­ment, camp-based and urban refu­gees in the Middle East, in parti­cular Lebanon. His research inter­ests include emer­gency and refugee urba­nism and shelter archi­tec­tures. Knudsen is editor of the forth­co­ming book Conti­nental Encamp­ment : Genea­lo­gies of Huma­ni­ta­rian Contain­ment in the Middle East and Europe (Berghahn, 2023) and a new antho­logy on : Urban Displa­ce­ment : Syria’s Refu­gees in the Middle East (Berghahn, under review).