Dr Billie Jean Brownlee

Research Topic: The micropolitics of refugee crisis management: the case of Lebanon’s municipalities

The outbreak of the armed conflict in Syria in 2011 has caused the death of millions of lives, produced extreme violence, large-scale displacement, sectarianism, radicalisation and territorial fragmentation. More importantly, the conflict has resulted in the largest refugee crisis since World War II, with more than 6 million refugees internally displaced in Syria and more than 4 million refugees fleeing war mostly to neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. Lebanon is especially affected by this situation. Compared with other host countries, Lebanon – which has received one third of the refugees from Syria, constituting a much higher proportion in relation to the domestic population – has also adopted a “no camp” policy, adding strain to local communities’ economies and infrastructure.  In these contexts, tensions between host communities and refugees are a growing phenomenon due to deteriorating access to basic services, the reawakening of religious and ethnic friction, but also, crucially, the impact on the political economy of the country. The research project on The micropolitics of refugee crisis management: the case of Lebanon’s municipalities sheds light on the politics of response to the refugee crisis at municipal and district level in Lebanon in order to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of humanitarian response and provide stakeholders with on-the-ground knowledge of the political dimension of the refugee phenomenon in Lebanon.

Mentor: Dr William Gallois


‘The Revolution “from below” and its Misinterpretations “from above”’. The Case of Syria’s neglected Civil Society”, Journal of Syria Studies 7 (1), 2015: 31-59.

‘Silent, Passive and Revolutionary: the “Arab Spring” revisited’, Middle East Critique 25 (3), 2016: 299-316, (co-authored with Maziyar Ghiabi).

‘Revolutionary Damascene roses: women and media in the Syrian conflict in Annemarie Profanter and Elena Maestri (ed.) Arab Women and Media in changing Landscapes: Realities and changes, (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing).

‘Mediating the Syria revolt: how new media technologies change the development of social movements and conflicts’ in Raymond Hinnebusch and Omar Imady (ed.) The Syrian Uprising 2011-2014: Roots and Trajectories, Taylor & Francis, (in press, forthcoming 2017).

‘Media Development in Syria: the Janus-Faced Nature of Foreign Aid Assistance’ in ed. Five Years after the Arab Revolutions: the Arduous Road of Democratization and Future Prospects, Beirut University Press, forthcoming 2016.

In preparation:

New Media and Revolution: Syria’s Silent Movement towards the 2011 Uprising, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018).

A State without People: How Displacement transforms the Middle East, (New York: Syracuse University Press, 2018), co-authored with Maziyar Ghiabi (Oxford).