The Management of the Palestinian Refugee Camps in Jordan between Logics of Integration and Exclusion

21 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2012

Date Written: January 30, 2010

Abstract

Although they are presently home to less than one-fifth of the total refugee population living in Jordan, namely 350,000 refugees), the refugee camps epitomize the dilemma pertaining to the refugees' dual Palestinian/Jordanian identity. Generally viewed as the most vivid markers of the refugees' commitment to the right of return, they are simultaneously portrayed either as hubs of potential political dissent or as places of social marginalization that affect the country's drive towards liberal modernization.

This article explores this dilemma through the analysis of the camp management policies pursued by national and international stakeholders since the early 1950s. Following a first historical section that investigates the origins of the camps in Jordan and tackles their representations within the Jordanian society at large, the article goes on highlighting the political and socioeconomic stakes involved in the development of camps’ physical and housing infrastructure. In so doing, it sheds a new light on the “right of return”. A rallying slogan across the Palestinian society and the Arab world as a whole, the “right of return” has also constituted an operational norm that has deeply influenced the camps’ evolution patterns as well as Jordan’s urban landscape.

Keywords: Palestinian refugees, camps, United Nations, Jordan, political rights, urban management, living conditions

JEL Classification: I30, I31, O18, O20, O53, R11, R12

Suggested Citation

Al Husseini, Jalal J, The Management of the Palestinian Refugee Camps in Jordan between Logics of Integration and Exclusion (January 30, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2166837 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2166837

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