Dr. Samer Abboud
Department of Global Interdisciplinary Studies
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Project Title: Syrian Refugee Lifeworlds
How do Syrian refugees decide whether to stay in their host countries or return to Syria? How do their life experiences and current government policies towards refugees shape their decision-making? My current research that will be supported with USG funding engages with these questions through an interview study of Syrian refugees. In the context of increasing pressures from host countries to return to Syria, refugees are caught between the precarity of life outside of Syria and the uncertainties and insecurities associated with return. This interview study provides empirical material for parts of a forthcoming manuscript. In this book, I ask how the Syrian government has managed the conflict through a series of legal and policy changes aimed at punishing those deemed disloyal. As displaced people, refugees are often considered to have betrayed the 'homeland' and are considered to be potential enemies of the state. Thus, their potential return raises several questions: is it safe to return? Under what conditions would it be safe? How can refugees prove their loyalty to the government to return? What happens if they are deemed disloyal? My USG supported research inquires into how refugees engage in forms of decision-making through what I am calling their "lifeworlds", a way of describing how their experiences inside and outside of Syria as well as their awareness of the government's suspicion of them, shapes their decision-making about the future.