Lebanese American University, Beirut

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International conference


Institute for Migration Studies

Department of Geography

Center for Intercultural Studies


Program and Abstracts


Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian communities in the world:
Theoretical frameworks and empirical studies


19 - 22 May 2011  


Prof. Dr. Paul Tabar (Institute for Migration Studies, Department of Social Sciences, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon)
Prof. Dr. Anton Escher (Department of Geography, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz, Germany)

Tobias Boos (Department of Geography, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz, Germany)


Numerous publications address the Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian migration flows since 1870 in which numerous groups have settled in various countries around the world. Traditionally this body of work discusses the matter primarily on the basis of migration flows alone. We think, however, that the modern globalized world and the long term social and cultural networks between the diasporic communities challenge this simplistic approach and, therefore, we propose to diversify the focus on three aspects:

  1. The social dynamics of Arab communities have long since ceased to be determined by migration processes. Instead, a complex interplay of community- and space-building processes is the primary key to unlock these dynamics. Thus the community should be at the centre of further research.
  2. The increasing significance of diasporic and/or globalised media in capturing the developing character of Arab communities abroad (e.g. cable TV and community based radio stations). As well as Web-based social networks should be considered as a vivid extension of daily life leading to new possibilities of social and cultural organization for communities.
  3. A transnational perspective considering diasporas in their social field stretched out between their place of residence, the countries of origin and the globally connected communities as the starting point of analysis. But the importance of the nation-state in people’s daily life should be recognised as well.
The goals of the conference are:
  1. To initiate an international long term research on Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian global communities aiming at reconsidering recent works pertaining to the same topic.
  2. To discuss cultural and social theoretical frameworks for interpreting the “living-between-cultures” of migrant communities in times of globalization in light of the key aspects like diaspora, transnationalism, ethnicity and social network.
  3. To talk about empirical findings e.g. everyday routines and their changes, historical developments, forms of organizations like NGOs and Web-based social networks, social and political impacts on societies.
NatFAK Building (see campus plan), Department of Geography, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz, Germany
Johann-Joachim-Becher-Weg 21

Tobias Boos:



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