Research program

Forced migrations are certainly not a new phenomenon in the region. Migration is even a traditional key element in understanding the changes in the socio-political organization of this region. From the immigration of Caucasian and North African migrant populations in the Levant since the early 19th century, to the massive dissemination of Palestinian refugees following the creation of the state of Israel, to the more recent Iraqi and Syrian refugee flows, migration has played a key role in the development of the Middle Eastern demographic, political, economic and social landscape. Contemporary economic migrations and refugee movements can thus only be understood in the light of two correlated contexts: the dynamics of high mobility processes involving cross-border migration, and the existence of well-established transnational networks and diasporas.

Nowadays, following outbreaks and crisis that resulted in millions of forced migrants, Middle Eastern countries host the largest refugee population, registered or not, as well as internally displaced people. Yet, as none of the host countries – except for Turkey – are signatory of the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees, they are left in a legal limbo that shapes their mobilities and activities. However, if migrations are triggered and framed by regional conditions and host countries responses, they not less depend on the migrants’ own coping strategies and agency.

By contextualizing current refugee flows in their historical and regional framework, LAJEH aims to enhance and deepen knowledge on forced migration in the Middle East but also on other forced migrations elsewhere. Theoretically informed and empirically driven, LAJEH’s approach is cross-disciplinary and tends to investigate both the socio-political, geo-economic and historical aspects of forced migration through three axis of analysis that aim to look at 1. migrants’ economic integration and settlement, 2. the different layers of solidarity networks developed by migrants and 3. the influence of migrants on the host communities’ political fabric.

For more information : ANR_Lajeh_Prog