The Syrian crisis and the crisis of masculinity – Lajeh Seminar, October, 22nd, 2017

The seminar will take place at Ifpo from 9.30 am to 11.30 a.m (the seminar is not opened to public).


The presentation of Philip Proudfoot will focus on masculinity and consumption practices amongst male Syrian migrant workers and part-time rebels in Beirut. On the basis of over four years of participant-observation (2011 – 2016) he will show how, in addition to knowing and participating in the revolution up close and at a distance, Syrian migrant workers in Beirut had to negotiate its social, political and economic fallout. He will describe how, in relation to events across the border, male migrants engaged in certain self-fashioning practices through which different and often seemingly contradictory assumptions, attitudes, and patterns of behavior emerged. It is possible to identify three models of masculinity around which men recognized themselves and others: (1) al-shabāb; [lads] (2) al-kibār [elders] and (3) al-thuwwār [rebels]. The presentation will deploy ethnographic vignettes to reveal how al- thuwwār were able to upset more traditional patriarchal power relations between younger and older migrants. These vignettes demonstrate how transformations in masculine self-fashioning occurred as men adjusted to the impossibility of return, and thereby dealt with the fact Lebanon no longer appeared a temporary destination. From cash generating labor abroad an earlier generation of Syrian men transitioned from youthful indulgences as al-shabāb in the city to heads of household back home as al-kibār. But as this pattern collapsed, Syrian laborers began building lives for themselves in Beirut. Yet, without the economic means to anchor values associated with being an elder man — like providing for a family — this transition became a performance without a stage, with al-thuwwār playing the leading role.

Dr Philip Proudfoot  

Dr Philip Proudfoot is a political anthropologist of the Levant region. In late 2016 he joined the British Institute in Amman shortly after having completed his PhD at the London School of Economics. Currently, Philip is preparing his doctoral thesis — The Living Dead: Revolutionary Subjectivity and Syrian Rebel-Workers in Beirut — for publication (Stanford University Press). This work was based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork that he carried out amongst a network of Syrian labourers in Beirut (2011 – 2015). From a bottom-up perspective, Philip describes the personal and political transformations of men whose voices are frequently silenced in the face of today’s brutal proxy war. Before joining CBRL Philip was an analyst with the Beirut Research and Innovation Center (BRIC) where he worked on establishing a women’s coalition for gender equality in the Lebanese City of Tripoli.

Philip’s principal research interests cluster around issues of conflict & violence, forced migration, populism, revolutionary art and aesthetic production, rural to urban populations, and working class cultures.


Research seminar in Amman – September, 21st, 2017

The seminar will take place at Ifpo from 9.30 am to 11.30 a.m (the seminar is not opened to public).

Syrian investments in Sahab, Amman Industrial city (1982-2017)

Myriam Ababsa

Abstract :

Dr Myriam Ababsa will present the main findings of a fieldwork conducted with Kamel Dorai from October 2016 until April 2017 in the industrial zone of Sahab, 12 km south east of Amman. The interest of the research is that the city has welcome two waves of Syrian refugees: in 1982 after Hama events and in 2011-2017 during the civil war. She will show that those two waves have different investment strategies in the city, and different social profile.


Borders and migration management, a comparative perspective

Roundtable at the French cultural Institute in Amman (Jebel Webdeh)

Wednesday, May 3rd, from 6 pm to 8 pm

Today, border control is at the heart of debates in different parts of the world. This issue raises many questions often linked together: security, migration, economy, etc. Borders are characterized by their changing nature and ongoing negotiations over the crossing’s modalities. During conflicts and political tensions, they often appear as an obstacle to human mobility. This roundtable will discuss different border management experiences through population control mechanisms (United States/Mexico, Jordan/Syria/Palestine borders). Moreover, it will look at how these borders structure the socio-economic life and the daily movements of the local communities and the migrants.

Chair: Falestin Naili (Ifpo, Amman) – Historian

Philippe Bourmaud (Univ. Lyon 3, France) – Historian, Boundaries in the Middle-East

Myriam Ababsa (Ifpo, Amman) – Geographer, The Syrian – Jordanian border

Delphine Mercier (LEST, France) – Sociologist, The Mexican – USA border

Véronique Bontemps (IIAC, France) – Anthropologist, The Jordan – West bank border

More information here.