Paper: Refugee-refugee hosting as everyday humanitarianism

Paper details

Paper authors Zoe Jordan
In panel on Everyday humanitarianism
Paper presenter(s) will be presenting In-Person / Online


Host families are vital in the lives of displaced individuals and families, assisting in meeting basic needs, safety, and providing a sense of belonging. In general, refugee host family practices in humanitarian contexts are underexplored, despite their prevalence. It is even more rarely acknowledged that the people hosting refugees in humanitarian contexts are often refugees themselves – a relationship I call refugee-refugee hosting. In this paper, I draw on qualitative research with refugees (Syrian, Sudanese, Somali and Iraqi) living in such arrangements in Amman, Jordan to show that refugee-refugee hosting is a form of everyday humanitarianism, enacted by and for refugees. This builds on the growing literature that argues that the everyday and informal activities of urban refugees and those around them should be considered as within the continuum of humanitarianism. Recognising these acts as humanitarian challenges the social, geographic, and power distances inherent in existing understandings of the humanitarian system, and questions how such everyday humanitarianism is shaped in interaction with the formal humanitarian system. The paper concludes with reflections on the implications of recognising refugee-refugee hosting as a form of humanitarian action, and brief suggestions of how to better engage with the essential support that refugee-refugee hosting provides.