Protection Amid Chaos: The Creation of Property Rights in Palestinian Refugee Camps

Hardcover | December 13, 2016

byNadya Hajj

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The right to own property is something we generally take for granted. For refugees living in camps, in some cases for as long as generations, the link between citizenship and property ownership becomes strained. How do refugees protect these assets and preserve communal ties? How do they maintain a sense of identity and belonging within chaotic settings?

Protection Amid Chaos follows people as they develop binding claims on assets and resources in challenging political and economic spaces. Focusing on Palestinians living in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan, it shows how the first to arrive developed flexible though legitimate property rights claims based on legal knowledge retained from their homeland, subsequently adapted to the restrictions of refugee life. As camps increased in complexity, refugees merged their informal institutions with the formal rules of political outsiders, devising a broader, stronger system for protecting their assets and culture from predation and state incorporation.

For this book, Nadya Hajj conducted interviews with two hundred refugees. She consults memoirs, legal documents, and findings in the United Nations Relief Works Agency archives. Her work reveals the strategies Palestinian refugees have used to navigate their precarious conditions while under continuous assault and situates their struggle within the larger context of communities living in transitional spaces.

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From the Publisher

The right to own property is something we generally take for granted. For refugees living in camps, in some cases for as long as generations, the link between citizenship and property ownership becomes strained. How do refugees protect these assets and preserve communal ties? How do they maintain a sense of identity and belonging with...

Nadya Hajj is an assistant professor of political science at Wellesley College.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:232 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:December 13, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231180624

ISBN - 13:9780231180627

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Figures, Maps, and TablesAcknowledgmentsList of Abbreviations and TranslationsNote on Arabic TransliterationIntroduction1. A Theory of Property Right Formation in Palestinian Refugee Camps2. Crafting Informal Property Rights in Fawdah3. Formal Property Rights in Refugee Camps in Jordan4. Formal Property Rights in Refugee Camps in Lebanon5. Renegotiating Property Rights in Nahr al-Bared CampConclusionAppendix A: Titles from NBC and Beddawi in Arabic with English TranslationsAppendix B: Research MethodsNotesReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

With unprecedented numbers of displaced people across the Middle East, this book provides a timely and powerful analysis of how refugee communities seek to establish and enforce property rights in conflict and transitional settings. Drawing on her extensive research in Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon, the author combines rich empirical documentation with original theoretical insights. Essential reading for anyone interested in understanding how refugee communities adapt to insecure environments.