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Tracing Syrian Refugees Urban Mobilities: The Case of Egypt and Canada

Authors: N. Elgendy, N. Hussein


The current Syrian crisis has caused unprecedented practices of global mobility. The process of forced eviction and the resettlement of refugees could be seen through the insights of the “new mobilities paradigm”. The mobility of refugees in terms of meaning and practice is a subject that calls for further studies. There is a need for the development of an approach to human mobility to understand a practice that is turning into a phenomenon in the 21st century. This paper aims at studying, from a qualitative point of view, the process of movement within the six constituents of mobility defined as the first phase of the journey of a refugee. The second phase would include the process of settling in and re-defining the host country as new “home” to refugees. The change in the refugee state of mind and crossing the physical and mental borders from a “foreigner” to a citizen is encouraged by both the governmental policies and the local communities’ efforts to embrace these newcomers. The paper would focus on these policies of social and economic integration. The concept of integration connotes the idea that refugees would enjoy the opportunities, rights and services available to the citizens of the refugee’s new community. So, this paper examines this concept through showcasing the two hosting countries of Canada and Egypt, as they provide two contrasting situations in terms of cultural, geographical, economic and political backgrounds. The analysis would highlight the specific policies defined towards the refugees including the mass communication, media calls, and access to employment. This research is part of a qualitative research project on the process of Urban Mobility practiced by the Syrian Refugees, drawing on conversational interviews with new-settlers who have moved to the different hosting countries, from their home in Syria. It explores these immigrants’ practical and emotional relationships with the process of movement and settlement. It uses the conversational interviews as a tool to document analysis and draw relationships in an attempt to establish an understanding of the factors that contribute to the new-settlers feeling of home and integration within the new community.

Keywords: Mobility, Integration, Refugees, home

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