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This article aims to address a number of conceptual and methodological challenges facing the study of young refugees. Much of the research on refugees has, until recently, been focused on adults, and to a lesser degree, on young children. Those studies that do include children are largely carried out in the domain of psychology and psychiatry and tend to pathologize and individualize. This article is based on observations derived from a six-year, multi-disciplinary anthropological and participatory research programme that examined the impact of forced migration on young people in the Middle East and North Africa: Palestinian refugee youth in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza, Sahrawi youth in Algeria, and Afghan youth in Iran. It argues that despite the challenges, an anthropological and participatory approach contributes to a greater, more holistic understanding of refugee youth.

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Journal article


Oxford University Press

Publication Date



18 (4)


387 - 409