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Title: Subjects of self-reliance : a critical history of refugees and development
Author: Easton-Calabria, Evan
ISNI:       0000 0004 8507 1958
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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In four empirical chapters spanning three regions of the world in the 20th and 21st centuries, I examine continuities and changes in institutional assistance to foster refugee self-reliance. I employ archival and ethnographic methods to document assistance practices and forms of implementation. I draw upon programme and evaluation reports of the League of Nations and UNHCR as key primary texts due to these institutions' historical influence and prominence in refugee assistance, as well as private collections by individual assistance actors. I find that efforts to foster refugee self-reliance have largely occurred through development projects targeting both refugees and locals, and even entire regions; in so doing, this assistance has largely treated refugees as workers in need of employment. This 'refugee self-reliance assistance', as I term it, has been a main feature of refugee assistance yet has been hitherto neglected in academic scholarship in Refugee Studies as well as International Development. Through a Marxian reading of history I link refugee self-reliance assistance to material interests, outcomes, and changes. Drawing on critical welfare studies, I develop a theoretical framework of 'international welfare' and employ the theoretical concepts of instrumentalisation and reserve army of labour to explain how refugee self-reliance has become an instrument that alternately serves and exemplifies changes in social, political, and economic structures. The rhetoric surrounding refugee self-reliance belies shifting interests and their underlying values - whether self-reliance is espoused as an economic imperative, a protection instrument, or a human right, for example. The identification of these linkages has implications for understanding the conditions under which refugee self-reliance is 'fostered', for analysing the means through which it is intended to be attained, and its explicit and implicit outcomes. Through this examination, my thesis reveals that refugee self-reliance is not an end in itself but instead a malleable instrument to achieve economic gain, political exploits, and social control.
Supervisor: Betts, Alexander Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: International Development ; Forced Migration Studies ; Refugee Studies