Displaced Arab Families: Mothers' Voices on Living and Coping in Postwar Beirut


Makhoul, Jihad, and Mary Ghanem. 2009. "Displaced Arab Families: Mothers' Voices on Living and Coping in Postwar Beirut." Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 5 (3): 54-73.

Authors: Jihad Makhoul, Mary Ghanem


This study explores the experiences and views of women and their families who have been affected by displacement due to the Lebanese civil war. Despite the popular notion that displaced families have returned home, the effects of displacement continue to be felt by families, especially the women. Findings from in-depth interviews with women currently residing in two suburbs of Beirut highlight the repercussions of postwar conditions of economic decline and inadequate social development policies on these families who continually move to new dwellings within the suburbs to escape unaffordable rent. These multiple moves to less satisfactory housing and neighborhoods are a consequence of poverty and have adverse social and psychological impacts on the lives of the women and their families. As social networks break up, family tensions mount and women’s ideals are left unrealized. Women cope with stressors by praying, smoking, and taking sedatives. Further research and policy-related implications are discussed.

Keywords: displacement, post-war reconstruction

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Lebanon

Year: 2009

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