Home Institution

Macalester College

Publication Date

Spring 2016

Program Name

Jordan: Modernization and Social Change


This research aims to explore the perspectives of aid workers in Amman among various aid organizations, both local and international, and how aid workers feel the country should move forward from both a policy and social standpoint regarding urban integration of Syrian refugees. This research includes a review of literature in urban studies and sociology of economics, drawing on absorption theory and the concept of parallel structures of services to contextualize the argument that the role of urban refugees in urbanization and urban economic development should be considered within the systems of relief in place in Jordan, and it is the role of aid organizations to link overall development to relief work with the help of governing bodies. The researcher hypothesizes that the lack of absorption theory practiced in aid organization programming reinforces the detrimental parallel structure of service provision in Jordan. This study’s significance is related to the precarious position Jordan is in economically and socially following the Syrian crisis, and the importance of finding a sustainable solution for the future. Interviews and questionnaires were completed with employees of aid organizations in Amman in order to inform this research. In conclusion, while tenets of absorption theory was practiced in many organizations in this sample, the obstacles to further programming are significant, and parallel structures of services remain an issue to social cohesion of Syrians and Jordanians. This study contributes qualitative perspectives of aid workers with experience in this matter to the broader academic discussion of how emergency relief affects host countries and seeks to contribute perspectives on how the international aid community can restructure responses to fit the needs of Jordan.


Emergency and Disaster Management | Geography | Growth and Development | Near and Middle Eastern Studies


Article Location