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Title: Organizing in times of global displacement and refugee crises
Author: Frey, Corinna
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 7423
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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This dissertation examines the challenges of organizing in times of global displacement in three different studies. The papers are based on an ethnographic case study of an international aid organization and its operations in Rwanda. Each paper investigates a distinct aspect of responding to one of society's most pressing global problems, gradually unpacking how current organizational responses form a key part of the problem. The first paper explores the challenges of representing multi-sectoral contexts, as global crisis and grand challenges cut across multiple different sectors and domains. Drawing on pragmatist ideas, the paper conceptualizes multi-sectoral contexts by focusing on practical effects that differ in terms of visibility, comparability and timeliness. It further advances the idea of useful, rather than truthful, representation of complex contexts. The second paper examines the shift to participation and downward accountability in refugee crises. It outlines how downward accountability realizes its moral responsibility in an acute crisis, but betrays it over time as displacement prolongs. We conceptualize the dynamics of downward accountability as inclusive as well as exclusive, suggesting that participatory practices of downward accountability might reinforce refugees as marginalized others as displacement prolongs. The third paper follows this more critical stance by examining how the predominant solution to refugee crises, encampment, enacts and intensifies displacement over time. Contributing to the notion of wicked problems, this paper specifies the underlying practices of such problems' inherent intractability, referring to temporal and spatial containment. The paper however also sheds light on dynamics of temporal and spatial diffusion that assist in de-intensifying global wicked problems. The dissertation concludes with two overarching contributions that sketch opportunities for future research and reflects on the impact and implications of research on today's global social challenges.
Supervisor: Barrett, Michael ; Jones, Matthew ; Tracey, Paul Sponsor: ESCR ; Cambridge Trust ; Cambridge Judge Business School
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: global refugee crises ; organizing ; grand challenges ; wicked problems ; accountability ; Organisation Theory ; Practice Theory ; Pragmatism ; Qualitative Research ; Ethnography