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Everyday humanitarians: refugee-refugee hosting in protracted urban displacement

Presentation Description

Refugee hosting at the household level is a global phenomenon, occurring in displacement contexts across the world. Defined as the interdependent sharing of accommodation, in urban contexts hosting plays an essential role in providing shelter, access to food, water and sanitation facilities, connections to work, and a sense of safety and protection. Though there is increasing attention to localisation and refugee-led response within humanitarian and refugee studies, so far the role of refugee hosting as a humanitarian act has been largely overlooked. My paper draws on in-depth qualitative research with Sudanese refugee men living in host arrangements in Amman, Jordan. I argue that hosting relationships are a form of everyday humanitarianism, enacted by and for refugees, through which populations care for their own needs while in displacement. This builds on the growing literature that argues that the everyday and informal activities of migrants and those around them should be considered as within the continuum of humanitarianism and as part of the system of aid (Rozakou, 2017; Fechter and Schwittay, 2019; Horst, 2008; Olliff, 2018; Brkovic, 2018; Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, 2016). These everyday acts of humanitarianism are predicated on proximity, shared experience, and interdependencies, and are created in interaction with specific displacement contexts. Recognising these acts as humanitarian challenges the social, geographic, and power distances inherent in existing understandings of the humanitarian system, with the potential to transform humanitarian thinking and practice.

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