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Politics of the ungoverned: accountability structures for the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon

Masiero, Silvia (2012) Politics of the ungoverned: accountability structures for the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Journal of Internal Displacement, 2 (1). pp. 79-97. ISSN 1920-5813

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In this work, we focus on the accountability structures that link Palestinian refugees in Lebanon to the authorities supervising them, namely UNRWA and the Lebanese government. For this purpose, we use the theoretical lens of the “politics of the governed”, characterized by the dichotomy of civil versus political-society; while civil-society is constituted by legally recognized groups of citizens, and predicated on the recognition of the right to citizenship, political society is inhabited by those individuals that are not entitled with this right, and are therefore regarded as illegal. The argument that we develop here is three-pronged: firstly, accountability structures for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are predicated on a twofold vision, informed by the idea of civil-society in the case of UNRWA, and by that of political society in the case of the Lebanese government. Secondly, the accountability combination of UNRWA and the host government is incomplete: indeed, an accountability gap affects the areas of secondary services, intra-camp security, and local governance, and needs to be filled by the Palestinians by themselves. Thirdly, delving in the politics of the “ungoverned”, i.e. being forced to face the accountability gap on their own, is problematic for Palestinian refugees: this is because of the systematic capture of developmental benefits by political factions, and of the increased dependency of Palestinian organizations on the bureaucracy of international donors. In this complex political situation, the way forward should look not only at the consequences of the accountability gap, but also at its root causes, ascribable to the unsustainable financing scheme of UNRWA and to the legal discrimination perpetrated by the Lebanese government towards refugees.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 JID
Divisions: Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2014 15:47
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:32

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