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Colgate University

Publication Date

Fall 2019

Program Name

Jordan: Refugees, Health, and Humanitarian Action


As the conflict in Syria has evolved into a long-term crisis, Syrian refugees have found themselves in a state of both temporality and permanence, frequently cited as being ‘stuck’. Syrians in Jordan, particularly, have fallen victim to this status, frequently labeled as ‘guests’, with corresponding humanitarian aid also reflecting this temporality. No studies have yet explored Syrian refugees perceptions and experiences with ‘guest’ status and its relationship with humanitarian assistance. The purpose of this study is to explore Syrian perception of ‘guest’ status and current humanitarian efforts in Jordan and see how this demonstrates and challenges the dichotomy present in Syrian refugee status of simultaneous temporality and permanence. Through ten semi-structured interviews with Syrians, followed by a thematic and inductive analysis, the data revealed six themes. Themes included the influence of gender on assistance, perceived lack of transparency from humanitarian organizations, impaired social interaction, instability of resources, shifting perspectives regarding ‘guest’ status, and future uncertainty. Additionally, narratives reveal a relationship between humanitarian assistance and Syrian status as aid has decreased due to perceived ‘temporal’ status, despite the elongated length of the conflict. All Syrian participants have no intention of returning to Syria in the foreseeable future, and despite many having been in Jordan for more than six years, this idea of finding stability and permanence is challenged by both physical and mental challenges associated with current unstable assistance and perceived status that have made Syrians simultaneously feel as if their lives in Jordan are temporal. This study works to shed light on the lived experiences frequently forgotten but just as powerful as policy assessment.


Arabic Studies | Development Studies | International Humanitarian Law | Near and Middle Eastern Studies | Peace and Conflict Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social Welfare


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