Masculinities and displacement in the Middle East: Syrian refugees in Egypt

Magdalena Suerbaum

- completed -

In the aftermath of the outbreak of the Syrian uprising in 2011, many Syrians fled to Egypt. This ethnographic study traces Syrian men’s struggles in Cairo: their experiences in the Egyptian labor market and their efforts to avoid unemployment, their ambitions to prove their ‘groomability’ in front of potential in-laws in order to get married, and their discontent with being assigned the label ‘refugee’. In order to retain the image of the ‘respectable Syrian middle-class man’, they engaged in processes of Othering and the creation of hierarchies. Syrian men’s emotional struggles, the adaptability and elasticity of constructed masculinities, and the practice of combining various registers of manhood according to urgencies are pivotal elements of this book, which explores Syrian men’s memories and understandings of sectarianism and growing up in Syria, their interactions with the Egyptian and Syrian states, and their experiences during the uprising. The intersectional approach of this book enables close attention to the ‘refugee’ as a classed and gendered person, to his position in the life cycle as a son, student or father, and sheds light on the emotions that contoured his experiences during forced migration. 

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