December 18, 2018 - 12:00 pm



Koc University Rumelifeneri Campus, Faculty of Social Sciences Building, SOS277   View map

MiReKoc Seminar Series continues with Souad Osseiran’s presentation on ‘Syrian Refugees in Istanbul: Differentiated Waits, Movements and Presence’. The presentation and discussion will take place on Tuesday, December 18th, 2018, at 12:00, in SOS277. Registration is required for participants not affiliated with Koç University.


Syrian Refugees in Istanbul: Differentiated Waits, Movements and Presence


Since the start of the Syrian revolution in 2011, many Syrian refugees have come to Istanbul fleeing the violence in Syria. Some come to Istanbul to build new lives while others come with the aim of moving on to Europe. In this research project, I focus on Syrian refugees’ waiting practices while in Istanbul. In exploring their waiting practice, I analyse the intersection between temporality, movement, and uncertainty. I argue that Syrian refugees engage with various actors who enforce different waits on them affecting the speed of their movement to Europe and the conditions underlying their continued presence in Turkey. The actors vary from smugglers to family members to different states- Turkish, Syrian or European, amongst others. Syrian refugees in turn affect their engagement with these actors in multiple ways whether by moving and thus ending a wait, forming ties while in Istanbul to manage the uncertainty they face, or usurping states’ sovereignty to govern the entrance and exit of persons. Following Landolt and Goldring (2013), I analyse the ways the various actors affect Syrian refugees’ waits as an assemblage. In presentation, I draw on data gathered from ethnographic fieldwork conducted with Syrian refugees in Istanbul that extended from July 2012 to December 2013. Since much has changed since the fieldwork, I endeavour to connect changes in Turkish state actors’ practices to highlight how and if waiting to move has shifting as a site of struggle.


Souad Osseiran was a Stiftung-Mercator IPC Fellow for 2017-2018 at IPC, Sabanci University. She completed her PhD in anthropology at Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2017 under the supervision of Professor Nicholas De Genova (now of Houston University) and Professor Frances Pine (Goldsmiths College, University of London). She holds an MSc in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford and a BA from the American University of Beirut.