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four book covers


In recent years RSC academics and researchers have authored a wide range of books:

Structures of Protection? cover showing black & white sketch of a fence and fields beyondEdited by Tom Scott-Smith and Mark E Breeze (University of Cambridge), Structures of Protection? Rethinking Refugee Shelter questions what shelter is and how we can define it. The volume brings together essays on different forms of refugee shelter, with a view to widening public understanding about the lives of forced migrants and developing theoretical understanding of this oft-neglected facet of the refugee experience. Drawing on a range of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, law, architecture, and history, each of the chapters describes a particular shelter and uses this to open up theoretical reflections on the relationship between architecture, place, politics, design and displacement. Authors include former RSC Early Career Fellows Tom Western and Robin Vandevoordt, and former Visiting Research Fellow Daniel Howden. The book is the product of a conference, convened by Scott-Smith and Breeze, which took place in 2018 at St. Cross College. (Published by Berghahn Books Forced Migration series, May 2020)




Book cover for On an Empty StomachIn On an Empty Stomach: Two Hundred Years of Hunger Relief, Tom Scott-Smith examines the practical techniques humanitarians have used to manage and measure starvation, from Victorian "scientific" soup kitchens to space-age, high-protein foods. Tracing the evolution of these techniques since the start of the nineteenth century, Scott-Smith argues that humanitarianism is not a simple story of progress and improvement, but rather is profoundly shaped by sociopolitical conditions. Aid is often presented as an apolitical and technical project, but the way humanitarians conceive and tackle human needs has always been deeply influenced by culture, politics, and society. These influences extend down to the most detailed mechanisms for measuring malnutrition and providing sustenance. As Scott-Smith shows, over the past century, the humanitarian approach to hunger has redefined food as nutrients and hunger as a medical condition. Aid has become more individualized, medicalized, and rationalized, shaped by modernism in bureaucracy, commerce, and food technology. On an Empty Stomach focuses on the gains and losses that result, examining the complex compromises that arise between efficiency of distribution and quality of care. Scott-Smith concludes that humanitarian groups have developed an approach to the empty stomach that is dependent on compact, commercially produced devices and is often paternalistic and culturally insensitive. (Published by Cornell University Press, April 2020)



Book cover for 'The Global Governed?'The Global Governed? Refugees as Providers of Protection and Assistance, by Kate Pincock, Alexander Betts and Evan Easton-Calabria, focuses on the role of refugee-led organisations at the local level. When refugees flee war and persecution, protection and assistance are usually provided by UN organisations and their NGO implementing partners. In camps and cities, the dominant humanitarian model remains premised upon a provider-beneficiary relationship. In parallel to this model, however, is a largely neglected story: refugees themselves frequently mobilise to create organisations or networks as alternative providers of social protection. Based on fieldwork in refugee camps and cities in Uganda and Kenya, this book examines how refugee-led organisations emerge, the forms they take, and their interactions with international institutions. Developing an original theoretical framework based on the concept of 'the global governed', the book shows how power and hierarchy mediate the seemingly benign notion of protection. Drawing upon ideas from anthropology and international relations, it offers an alternative vision for more participatory global governance, of relevance to other policy-fields including development, humanitarianism, health, peacekeeping, and child protection. (Published by Cambridge University Press, March 2020)



syria-making-&-unmaking.jpgSyria: The Making and Unmaking of a Refuge State, by Dawn Chatty, places the current Syrian displacement within the context of the widespread migrations that have indelibly marked the region throughout the last 150 years. Syria itself has harboured millions from its neighbouring lands, and Syrian society has been shaped by these diasporas. Chatty explores how modern Syria came to be a refuge state, focusing first on the major forced migrations into Syria of Circassians, Armenians, Kurds, Palestinians, and Iraqis. Drawing heavily on individual narratives and stories of integration, adaptation, and compromise, she shows that a local cosmopolitanism came to be seen as intrinsic to Syrian society. She examines the current outflow of people from Syria to neighbouring states, arguing that the resilience and strength of Syrian society both displaced internally within Syria and externally across borders bodes well for successful return and reintegration. (Published by Hurst/Oxford University Press, January 2018)



Refuge.jpgRefuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System, by Alexander Betts and Paul Collier, presents a new vision for refuge. Betts and Collier demonstrate that while Europe is facing its greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War, the institutions responding to it remain virtually unchanged from those created in the post-war era. They show that this crisis offers an opportunity for reform if international policy-makers focus on delivering humane, effective and sustainable outcomes – both for Europe and for countries that border conflict zones. Refugees need more than simply food, tents and blankets, and research demonstrates that they can offer tangible economic benefits to their adopted countries if given the right to work and education. Refuge sets out an alternative vision that can empower refugees to help themselves, contribute to their host societies, and even rebuild their countries of origin. (Published by Penguin Allen Lane, March 2017)



costello-human-rights-eu-law.jpgJoint winner of the 2016 Odysseus Network Best Publication Prize, The Human Rights of Migrants and Refugees in European Law, by Cathryn Costello, examines the EU law on immigration and asylum, addressing related questions of security of residence. Concentrating on the key measures concerning both the rights of third-country nationals to enter and stay in the EU, and the EU's construction of illegal immigration, it provides a detailed and critical discussion of EU and ECHR migration and refugee law. It asks the question, does the EU fulfil its post-national promise to create forms of membership beyond the state, or in its treatment of non-Europeans, does it undermine human rights and existing legal protections? Part of the acclaimed Oxford Studies in European Law, the book contributes a scholarly analysis of EU and ECHR migration and refugee law, including key EU legislative measures, the Court of Justice’s main rulings, and related European Court of Human Rights case law. (Published by Oxford University Press, December 2015)



refugee-economies-front-cover.jpgRefugee Economies: Forced Displacement and Development, by Alexander Betts, Louise Bloom, Josiah Kaplan and Naohiko Omata, is one of the first books to systematically explore the economic lives of refugees. It adopts an inter-disciplinary approach, based on original qualitative and quantitative data on the economic life of refugees, in order to begin to build theory on the economic lives of refugees. Uganda provides the focus because it represents a relatively positive case. Unlike other governments in the region, it has taken the positive step to allow refugees the right to work and a significant degree of freedom of movement through it so-called 'Self-Reliance Strategy'. Refugee Economies provides a comparative analysis across urban areas, protracted refugee camps, and emergency refugee camps, including chapters on the role of business and the role of innovation. The book offers an alternative vision for refugee policy based on supporting the capacities of refugees. (Published by Oxford University Press, November 2016)



eu-asylum-policies-zaun.jpgEU Asylum Policies: The Power of Strong Regulating States, by Natascha Zaun, fills a significant lacuna in our understanding of the refugee crisis by analysing the dynamics that lie behind 15 years of asylum policies in the EU. It reveals why cooperation has led to reinforced refugee protection on paper but has failed to provide it in practice. Offering innovative empirical, theoretical and methodological research on this crucial topic, Zaun argues that the different asylum systems and priorities of the various Member States explain the EU’s lack of initiative in responding to this humanitarian emergency. She demonstrates that the strong regulators of North-Western Europe have used their powerful bargaining positions to shape EU asylum policies decisively, which has allowed them to impose their will on Member States in South-Eastern Europe. These latter countries, having barely made a mark on EU policies, are now facing significant difficulties in implementing them. (Published by Springer, January 2017)



mobilising-the-diaspora.jpgMobilising the Diaspora: How Refugees Challenge Authoritarianism, by Alexander Betts and Will Jones, offers an in-depth examination of the internal politics of transnational mobilisation. Studying Rwandan and Zimbabwean exiles, it exposes the power, interests, and unexpected agendas behind mobilisation, revealing the surprising and ambivalent role played by outsiders. Far from being passive victims waiting for humanitarian assistance, refugees engage actively in political struggle. From Rwandans resisting their repatriation, to Zimbabweans preventing arms shipments, political exiles have diverse aims and tactics. The governments they face also deploy a range of transnational strategies, and those that purport to help them often do so with hidden agendas. This shifting landscape reveals the centrality of transnationalism within global politics, the historical and political contingency of diasporas, and the precarious agency of refugees. (Published by Cambridge University Press, November 2016)



OmataMythofSelfReliance-2.jpgFor many refugees, economic survival in a refugee camp is extremely difficult. The Myth of Self-Reliance: Economic Lives Inside a Liberian Refugee Camp, by Naohiko Omata, challenges the reputation of Ghana’s Buduburam refugee camp as a ‘self-reliant’ model, and sheds light on the considerable economic inequality between refugee households, drawing on both qualitative and quantitative research. By following the same refugee households over several years, it also provides valuable insights into refugees’ experiences of repatriation to Liberia after protracted exile and their responses to the ending of refugee status for remaining refugees in Ghana. (Published by Berghahn Books Forced Migration series, June 2017)




transnational-middle-east-vignal.jpgThe Transnational Middle East: People, Places, Borders, edited by Leïla Vignal, posits that, in the Middle East, the development of regional dynamics, of processes and circulations of all kinds, can be documented. The approaches it develops – ‘bottom-up’ regionalisation, ‘globalisation from below’ – allow for a better understanding of the ways in which the Middle East is part of global transformations. The book analyses how, through their practices, Middle East societies elaborate a regional space which is not institutionalised. Based on fieldwork in the Middle East, the book provides venues for further theoretical elaboration on globalisation and contemporary societies, as well as on processes of regionalisation. (Published by Routledge, October 2016)



Find a full list of RSC publications here >>