Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationBrown U.
Grant numberGr. 9462
Approve DateApril 25, 2017
Project TitleHefny, Sara M., Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'Refugees a(t) Risk: Vulnerability, Security, and Italy's Humanitarian Corridor,' supervised by Dr. Jessaca B. Leinaweaver
SARA M. HEFNY, then a graduate student at Brown University, Providence, RI – To aid research on ‘Refugees a(t) Risk: Vulnerability, Security, and Italy’s Humanitarian Corridor,’ supervised by Dr. Jessaca B. Leinaweaver. This multi-sited, ethnographic project investigated a private refugee resettlement program, created by a consortium of Italian ecumenical organizations, which allows Syrian refugees to enter Italy from Lebanon under the protection of a humanitarian visa. This program, and other refugee assistance projects, was born into a context of perceived migrant ‘invasion’ and economic anxiety in a country that still has not recovered from the global economic recession. This dissertation is based on two years of fieldwork in Italy, following workers in these faith-based organizations and the Syrian refugees they are tasked with resettling. The dissertation explores how these humanitarian workers adopt a variety of ethical principles to understand and justify their work. The project also examines how the workers decide who is deserving of aid and what the best ways are to provide assistance, as well as the effects of these decisions on the Syrians who are in their care. By examining the tensions between the obligation to help refugees and concerns over security and economy, this project interrogates the ways global and national discourses shape local understandings of refugee deservingness, how these understandings are mobilized, and the effects of these decisions on the lives of newly resettled Syrians in Italy.