Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2019
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Informational Assemblages of Chronicity and the Biopolitics of Syrian Refugee Care in Jordan

Syrian refugees in Jordan are facing an situation where the increasing burden of chronic illness and lack of adequate services has forced them to employ alternative health strategies and rely on their social networks for managing their disease. Effective chronic illness management depends upon their ability to access appropriate information, yet these abilities are enabled or hindered by the practices that shape the communication networks linking refugees and aid organizations. This research explores how applying an infrastructural framework to conceptions of social networks can supplement and expand theoretical approaches for understanding the lived experience of chronic illness. If one considers the decisions concerning the creation, maintenance, and policies governing these communication infrastructures as political actions (i.e. technopolitical), the lack of services available to chronically ill refugees and the resulting illness experience of chronic illness should not be seen solely as a medical issue, but also as a bio- and techno-political one. Through participant observation among Syrian refugees, I will investigate how people experience chronic illness within a context of inadequate services. Through institutional ethnography, archival study, and social network analysis I seek to discover and describe the structure of the communication networks and their impact on the experiences of disease. Ultimately, this work will broaden scholarship on how local experiences of chronic illness are embedded within the global practices of bio- and technopolitics that shape them.