Please enjoy the following article from the Journal of Urban Affairs, available online.
This article situates modes of politicization based on the unclarity of camp governance in the Palestinian refugee camps of Beirut. After the Lebanese Civil War, the intervention of a growing number of actors in the camps, from international organizations to local networks of self-help, makes the governance structure of the camps hard-to-read, leading to regular complaints from camp residents about a failing or inexistent governance system in the camps. From a perspective drawing on literature on hybrid political orders, social movements, and informal institutions in urban governance, this article explains how camp dwellers in fact possess clear knowledge about the camps’ governance system, and mostly use claims of ignorance as a way to safely denounce specific authorities. The denunciation of a “failing” system of governance thus provides local activists with resources allowing them to label and challenge authority in creative manners.