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Title: Disciplining movement : state sovereignty in the context of Iraqi migration to Syria
Author: Hoffmann, Sophia
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2011
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In most academic writing on state sovereignty, it is considered as a special, abstract form of independent power. This thesis considers sovereignty from a historical and anthropological perspective, arguing that it is a certain form of social and political organisation through which the state's power is performed and maintained as natural. This organisation and maintenance rests on particular, powerful ideas, for example on the assumed unity of territory, government and population, and on certain values about what constitutes politics and a fulfilled human life. By analysing the management of Iraqi migrants in Damascus through state and humanitarian institutions, this thesis shows the daily-life bureaucratic and violent practices through which state sovereignty became a reality in this context. The analysis emphasises that state sovereignty exists as an imagined 'ideal', as reflected in international law or world maps, and as a much more complex, context-dependant, lived reality. The differences between the way that humanitarian agencies considered Iraqi migrants from the perspective of the 'ideal', and the way Syrian state institutions governed Iraqi migrants according to very different standards, highlighted this distinction. Methodologically, this thesis calls for, and attempts to provide, a hermeneutic approach to social inquiry, in which empirical evidence underpins arguments about theory. Ethnography and interviews in Syria were used to collect in-depth information about the lives of Iraqi migrants, and the interventions and programmes through which Iraqi migration was being managed, in 2009 and 2010.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral