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Childhood and play ‘in-between’: Young Iraqi and Syrian child refugees’ play following armed conflict and forced displacement to the northern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon

El Gemayel, Sandra Marie; (2020) Childhood and play ‘in-between’: Young Iraqi and Syrian child refugees’ play following armed conflict and forced displacement to the northern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Armed conflict and displacement have immeasurably harmful effects on children and their families. They constrain children’s opportunities to play, to learn through play, and for their unique potential to flourish. Nonetheless, there is a lack of in-depth research conducted into how conflict and displacement affect young refugee children’s play and experiences of childhood in different host environments. Through ethnographic case studies of four young Iraqi and Syrian child refugees in a northern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, this thesis presents unique insights into the children’s family lives, their play and the violations of their rights in Lebanon. Underpinned by Froebelian principles of the integrity of childhood in its own right, the thesis theorises how the concept of ‘childhood’ is being constructed in Lebanon during the global refugee crisis. It identifies possible ways to improve play opportunities for refugee children who are living ‘temporarily’ in the northern suburbs of Beirut, arguing that they are in a state of ‘in between-ness’. The study follows a ‘day in the life’ methodology with four Iraqi and Syrian case study refugee children (4-8 years old) and their families, supplemented by questionnaire data from Iraqi, Syrian and Lebanese adults (n=100), semi-structured interviews with professionals working with refugee children in Lebanon, and an observation in a school for refugee children in Beirut’s Northern suburbs. Findings point to continuing children’s rights infringements in Lebanon, including poverty, limited access to physical, emotional and mental healthcare, poor living conditions, child labour, poor quality education and/or no school attendance, family separation and the destruction of communities. With lifelines falling short of ensuring children’s basic rights, contradictions between child and refugee policies, tensions between diverse organisations and the Lebanese government, and with limited access to play resources, growing fears and increased parental surveillance, particularly with regard to girls, children’s play and embodied experiences are being restricted. However, despite many hardships, play endures, providing children with a means to escape from their current liminal state through media, transformation and imagination.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Childhood and play ‘in-between’: Young Iraqi and Syrian child refugees’ play following armed conflict and forced displacement to the northern suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Learning and Leadership
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10102617
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