The article is published in the Middle East Journal of Refugee Studies (Vol: 2 Number: 1), and is available open access.


This text is an attempt to use material in one Syrian region as an example that speaks to a more general problem both in Syria and elsewhere. I argue that anthropological methods offer entry points to start thinking about reconciliatory processes for future conviviality and co-existence in this province and elsewhere. Participant observation is central to the methods used by social anthropologists. Such observation typically entails intensive personal engagement and interaction with people – informants or interlocutors – in the often-unbounded setting dubbed the field. This engagement and interaction is not predetermined by a strict research design. Instead, we are trained to expect the unexpected. Ethnographic fieldwork thus allows for serendipity; that process by which we discover important things for which we were not even searching, or were unaware that we were even searching for them, to begin with.

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Learn more about Annika Rabo’s research.