Liminality as an antidote? Ethnic organizing amongst Darfurian asylum seekers in Israel

Lisa Richlen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


As western countries are increasingly reticent to grant refugees rights, they must turn inwards to address urgent humanitarian needs and needs for belonging. This is the case in Israel where the Darfurian Sudanese community has established ethnically constituted “community centers”. These aim to help them survive the liminal present in Israel. Initially, community centers focused on provision of humanitarian assistance; however, over time, they have increasingly engaged in cultural and linguistic reclamation. Activities such as this represent a source of personal strength and pride which anchors individuals within a liminal time and place. Based on interviews with fifty-two individuals and attendance at events, this article demonstrates that the ethnic group, as a flexible construct, can adapt to the needs of asylum seekers in a situation of liminality and that the liminal state can represent both danger and opportunity for forced migrants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1782-1802
Number of pages21
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Israel
  • Refugees
  • Sudan
  • ethnic group
  • liminal
  • refugee community organizations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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