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Title: Refugees flexing social power as agents of stability : creating modes of economic livelihoods in Kenya’s camps
Authors: Larkin, Lance L.
Clark, Sarah A.
Keywords: Sociology, Military
Power (Social sciences)
Social ecology
War and society
Refugee camps
Publisher: Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Series/Report no.: ERDC/CERL;SR-17-16
Abstract: Although the United States Army recognizes the importance of the social domain in military and humanitarian aid zones, little work has been done to analyze and describe the social domain in those areas. The Engineer Research and Development Center of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is designing an interactive mapping program that provides information on social categories. It is not enough to understand who the local powerbrokers might be, because national and international connections also play into social power dynamics. More importantly, this report demonstrates how social power should be analyzed in order to understand how each situation of conflict or emergency hides threads of power that are not obvious. To establish how a social power analysis might be performed, this work discusses relevant social science theory to construct a framework for study. Using a case study of the Kenyan government’s threats to close their largest refugee camp due to their claims that the camp is full of terrorist activity, the authors demonstrate how closer analysis can provide critical understanding of a situation. That new understanding shows that refugee camp citizens harness their own social power, acting as agents of social and economic stability within the country.
Appears in Collections:Special Report

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