Analyzing South-South Humanitarian Responses to Displacement from Syria

Project description

In this project we aim to analyse formal and informal humanitarian responses coming from Global South's actors (Eg. communities, non-governmental organisations, governments, private initiatives, etc.) to human displacement from Syria. We therefore intend to explore the driving principles, conceptualisations, and motivations underlying 'Southern-led' assistance and service provision, in a bid to question and rethink a Global North-centered humanitarian history of policies and practices. The project has a particular focus on Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
More specifically, this project centralises diverse Southern-led humanitarian responses to conflict-induced displacement developed on different scales: individual, communal and national. In so doing, it aims to transcend the dominant Northern model of humanitarian history, theory and practice - which is based on one geopolitical region’s priorities and viewpoints -, by positing a new conceptualization of humanitarian theory and practice that places Southern perspectives at the core, rather than the margins. Through the multi-sited case-study of Southern-led responses to displacement from Syria, the main research aims are:

1. identifying diverse models of Southern-led responses to conflict-induced displacement,
2. examining the (un)official motivations, nature and implications of Southern-led responses,
3. examining refugees’ experiences and perceptions of Southern-led responses,
4. exploring diverse Southern and Northern actors’ perceptions of Southern-led responses,
5. tracing the implications of Southern-led initiatives for humanitarian theory and practice.

The ultimate research objectives are to understand the plurality of humanitarian models developed by actors from the global South; to recognise the agency of displaced populations as humanitarian actors rather than merely as humanitarian subjects; and to develop a new conceptualisation of humanitarian history, theory and practice. In addition to its significance to the academy, the research is of direct relevance to policy and practice, providing the foundations for evidence-based policy development and evaluation which situates Southern state and non-state actors at the core of humanitarian activities as active agents rather than merely as passive recipients.


First name Last name Gender Rank Affiliated Institution Country
Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh Female University College London United Kingdom


Estella Capri Female University College London United Kingdom

Bio: Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Migration Research Unit, University College London. I received my PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Sydney (Australia) with a research project on humanitarianism in Lebanon.



Scientific field

Sociology & Anthropology

Start Year


End Year


Funding Agency

Funding Agency Funding Agency Type Country of Funding Agency
European Research Council Governmental Organization Belgium

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