Inclusion and citizenship: Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

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This article critically explores how laws and practices of states and international organisations attempt to control refugees, drawing upon conceptions of ‘biopower’ and ‘technologies of anti-citizenship’ (Foucault 1972). This is examined in the Lebanese context, which has an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees (HRW 2016a), in an overall population of approximately 6 million (Worldometers 2018) – including approximately 500,000 long-term Palestinian refugees (UNRWA 2018). Firstly, I consider how ‘embodiment’ and ‘vulnerability’ relate to constructions of the ‘citizen’ in law, where refugees are constituted as vulnerable bodies ‘out of place’. Secondly, I examine how public, legal and policy constructions affect the lived experiences of refugees in Lebanon. This entails a recognition of the multiple axes of exclusionary intersectionalities, where the ideal citizen is constructed as adult, male, heterosexual, able-bodied, ‘intellectually competent’, economically productive, as well as holding a legal status as a national of the state. Thirdly, I examine two refugee initiatives that aim to address the discriminations faced in education and society. Drawing on these different sources of evidence, the article advances the argument that through global technologies of ‘human security’ promoting (neoliberal) individual self-reliance, exclusion is nevertheless perpetuated through depoliticised discourses and practices of vulnerability and (non-) citizenship.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
Publication statusPublished - 26 Dec 2019


  • Citizenship
  • education
  • inclusion
  • Lebanon
  • refugees
  • vulnerability


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