The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU Working Paper - No. 197

Refugee women and the Right to Inhabit: Reconceptualising refugee women’s Right to the City in Bourj Hammoud, Lebanon

WP 197

31 January 2019

By Anya Katharina Cardwell anya.cardwell.16@alumni.ucl.ac.uk
ISSN 1474-3280

With an ever-increasing majority of refugees living in urban areas, new questions are being raised about the meaning of citizenship and rights in the city. As a right for anyone who inhabits the city, Lefebvre’s Right to the City (RTC) concept provides a useful entry point to understand the particular struggles of refugees in negotiating their rights in a new ‘host’ city, however it is yet to be used to study the particular experiences of refugee women. In this pa- per I endeavour to fill this gap in the literature by analysing the struggles of refugee women in Bourj Hammoud, Leb- anon (many of whom are residing in the city without legal residence permits) in negotiating their principle ‘Right to Inhabit’. Specifically, I study their struggles in negotiating ‘three components of inhabitance’, namely the rights to housing, property and urban social life through the con- struction of a theoretical framework based on the “right to appropriation” and feminist critiques of the RTC. Through this framework, I reveal how patriarchal power relations implicate refugee women’s negotiations of these rights and I argue that the Right to Inhabit provides a useful framing to study how they negotiate their rights beyond the scale of the city alone.

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