Syrian Refugee Men in Za‘tari Camp: Humanitarianism, Masculinities, and “Vulnerabilities”
This paper summarises the findings of a research project on humanitarian work with Syrian refugee men, focused on Za‘tari Refugee Camp in Jordan. It argues that, for humanitarians, refugee men present a challenge. They are read in gendered and racialized ways, as independent, agential, political and at times threatening, and thereby disrupt humanitarian visions of refugeehood as a passive, feminised subject position. In this paper, these arguments are demonstrated through an exploration of some of the key areas the research focused on: how Syrian men were understood as objects of humanitarian care, how humanitarians understood Syrian men’s (non-)“vulnerability,” and Syrian men’s attempts to create livelihoods opportunities in the camp. The paper is based on extensive ethnographic participant-observation in the camp, and interviews with humanitarian workers and Syrian refugees in Jordan, which was undertaken in 2015-2016.