Representation, trust and ethnicity within refugee communities: the case of Darfurians in Israel

Lisa Richlen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

International discourse increasingly emphasizes refugee participation and the need for global forums to consult with refugees and refugee organizations. This process has been critiqued for, amongst other things, being driven by the needs of these organizations and for not meaningfully ensuring broad-based refugee participation including, for example, appropriate representation of women. This may contrast with the ways in which refugees understand representation and diversity within their communities. They may be more driven by notions of trust and, thus, prefer representatives from their ethnic group. Because of the power imbalance between refugees and external agencies, these agencies can wield outsized influence on refugees and their organizations and they may act in ways that are inconsistent with the understandings and needs of their communities. This article takes as a test case one such organization: the Sons of Darfur, founded by Darfurian Sudanese in Israel. In this case study, the Israeli government expected the organization to participate in a decision it made without addressing notions of diversity within the Darfurian community. The fallout from this incident resulted in less representative community organizing. Findings are based on interviews with fifty-two people along with professional and personal knowledge of and relationships with the research population spanning many years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-282
Number of pages18
JournalCommunity Development Journal
Volume58
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development

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