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Title: Displacement in Iraq after 2003 : coerced decisions in a time of crisis
Author: Ali, Ali
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 8928
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2012
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This is a refugee-centred study of the decision making process of Iraqis displaced after the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003. It investigates the pressures and influences that affected their decisions as well as who was involved and consulted. In doing so it sheds light on the under-theorised issue of what it means to be forced into a migration decision. The meaning of coercion is examined and applied to a forced migration context, considering the dynamics of cumulative causation in the process. The study also attempts to advance understandings of the relationship between state-formation and displacement. Narratives of Iraqis forced to migrate to Syria after 2003 were collected between June 2010 and April 2011 and form the primary data in this study. Narrative methods were used to elicit extended testimonies from Iraqis in Syria in order to explore conceptual issues. The research demonstrates the complex nature of forced migration and how displacement can be experienced as a process. Transformations of state which occurred in Iraq after the 2003 invasion led to purges which affected numerous groups perceived to belong to the old order. Iraqis who were perceived to be associated - rightly or wrongly - with the former regime experienced pressures and threats which resulted in some of them becoming migrants. The same transformations also manifested themselves as coercive alterations of spaces in Iraqis' daily lives. In a climate of generalised violence and insecurity, an array of threats and pressures, including those resulting from the dynamics of cumulative causation, combined to form what the author calls a coercive landscape: a social world in which choices are diminished and life is heavily constrained by a multiplicity of threats – and which is likely to induce mass displacement. Although grounded in a specifically Iraqi context, it may be useful for scholars to test this concept in other contexts of mass displacement.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral