Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Anthropology (MA)

Degree Level





Ted Swedenburg

Committee Member

Joann D'Alisera

Second Committee Member

Jonathan Marion


Social sciences, Government aid, Jordan, NGO, Refugees, Syrian refugees


In the wake of the 2011 Syrian Civil War, hundreds of thousands of refugees fled to neighboring Jordan. The government of Jordan received them and along with NGOs from around the world, provided for some of their most basic needs including food, education and healthcare. In the summer of 2014 I travelled to Amman and Mafraq, Jordan in order to learn more about the work being done among the Syrians by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). What I found was a variety of short-term aid projects designed by the NGOs to meet the various needs of the refugees. I learned of no plans to approach the issue Syrians’ need with any longterm solutions, however. This led to the question of why. The answers largely revolved around reasons originating from the refugees, the government of Jordan and/or the NGOs themselves. As a result, the Syrian refugees in Jordan, like refugees elsewhere are stuck in cycles of temporary permanence. They are neither able to return home nor put down roots where they currently are to provide for themselves and are therefore dependent on the aid provided. This thesis looks at the causes of temporary permanence among Syrians in Jordan in order to better understand why the cycles are so difficult to challenge and what effects they may have on the population long-term.