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Religions 2018, 9(7), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9070225

Vernacular Politics, Sectarianism, and National Identity among Syrian Refugees in Jordan

Chr. Michelsen Institute, P.O. Box 6033 N-5892 Bergen, Norway
Received: 5 June 2018 / Revised: 6 July 2018 / Accepted: 11 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract

In Jordan—home to some one million Syrian refugees—the vital roles played by vernacular politics, discourses of inclusion and exclusion, and sectarian social histories for Syrians are often considered unimportant when examining possibilities for integration or coexistence. Based on ethnographic research and participation in women’s religion classes in a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan in 2014, I argue that while sectarian identities may not in and of themselves appear to divide the majority of Syrian refugees in Jordan from the majority of Jordanian residents (as Sunni Muslims), through utilizing a vernacular politics theoretical perspective I reveal that the sectarian orientations and localized histories of Syrian refugees have an understudied potential to create new forms of divisiveness in Jordanian society. To dismiss any concerns raised, Jordanians reinforce the idea that sectarian discourses, in an objectified sense, are not welcome in Jordan, and that they are even—as a few asserted—“against Islam”. These differing national experiences with vernacular politics expressed in sectarian terms prompt Jordanians to reinforce the narrative that Jordan is free of such divisions, and will continue to remain so. This paper concludes by discussing the implications for national–transnational tensions. View Full-Text
Keywords: Islamic sectarianism; Syrian refugees; vernacular politics; integration; interdisciplinarity Islamic sectarianism; Syrian refugees; vernacular politics; integration; interdisciplinarity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Tobin, S.A. Vernacular Politics, Sectarianism, and National Identity among Syrian Refugees in Jordan. Religions 2018, 9, 225.

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