Brokers and the Infrastructure of Syrian Displacement across the Mediterranean: A Work in Progress

CBRL Amman Institute, 6 Al-Baouneyah Street, Qaiwar Complex, Jabal Al-Lweibdeh
04 December 2022

In this work in progress seminar, Dr Ann-Christin Zuntz will present her ethnographic findings from multi-sited fieldwork with brokers and Syrian refugees in the Middle East and North Africa since 2020.

In host countries around the Mediterranean, Syrian refugees rely on brokers to access and circulate resources, including remittances, flats, cars, and legal documents. In the context of restrictive asylum regimes, brokers play a vital role in allowing dispersed Syrian families to support each other across closed borders. Policymakers are quick to view brokers as “criminals”, but the reality is more complex. Brokers’ activities blur boundaries between the legal and the illegal, informal word-to-mouth interactions, close interpersonal relationships, and formal bureaucracies.

Using brokerage as an analytic, she will show that what keeps displaced communities together are not only blood ties, but also transnational flows of goods and information, including mundane money transfers and Whatsapp chains, as well as material infrastructures such as brokers’ offices and ledgers.

This in-person-only seminar will take place on Sunday 4 December 2022, from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm (Amman), at CBRL’s Amman Institute (6 Al-Baouneyah Street, Qaiwar Complex, Jabal Al-Lweibdeh).

To attend, please register using this form.

The seminar will be followed by a Q&A and reception.

For questions and cancellations, please contact: [email protected].

About the speaker

Dr Ann-Christin Zuntz is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Social Anthropology department at the University of Edinburgh. She is an economic anthropologist, with a focus on the intersections of labour, migrations, and gender in the Mediterranean. Ann does collaborative research with Syrian agricultural scientists, humanitarian, and cultural practitioners within Edinburgh’s One Health FIELD Network.

In 2022, the One Health FIELD Network co-produced a documentary on the continuing relevance of Syrian agricultural heritage for displaced Syrian communities in Turkey. More information on One Health FIELD Network is available here.