On the fifth anniversary of the Nahr El Bared War, this thesis seeks to historicize the re-establishment mechanisms of the post-conflict governance of the Nahr El Bared Palestinian refugee camp, almost razed to the ground following a fierce battle between the Lebanese Army and the Salafi multinational militia Fatah Al Islam in May-September 2007. In Lebanon, Palestinian camps are deprived of classical state-like governance, as Palestinian refugees are excluded from legal protection and civil rights and their spaces have been de-domesticated since 1969. In this context, this thesis captures the interplay of the competing sovereignties, each trying to impose its own definition of “governance” in post-conflict Nahr Al Bared, as the future refugee regime is more likely to be a mosaic created by this interaction. As the Lebanese state struggled to establish itself as the only sovereign in the camp by militarizing the reconstruction process, Nahr El Bared refugees altered the state’s project by developing a grassroots planning initiative and lobbied for its implementation through UNRWA. Inspired by Foucault’s concept of power, Arendt’s and Agamben’s political theories on refugee identities and spaces and the logic of humanitarian aid in camps, and building on field research conducted in Nahr El Bared Camp in March-April 2012, this thesis analyzes the various technologies of control employed by the Lebanese state in the post-2007 camp and its refugees’ acts of resistance countering the state’s project. Also discussed is the role of UNRWA in the reconstruction of the camp and the genuineness of its support of refugees’ political activism, considered as an exception to its solely humanitarian mandate.


Center for Migration and Refugee Studies

Degree Name

MA in Migration & Refugee Studies

Graduation Date

Spring 5-2012

Submission Date


First Advisor

Dr. Ann Lesch

Committee Member 1

Professor Sylvain Perdigon

Committee Member 2

Professor Shaden Khalaf


152 leaves

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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