Inside and Outside Government and Governance Experience of Syrian Refugees

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Umut Ozkaleli
Sean Byrne


This article locates the meaning of two oppositional entities, namely the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) and Local Councils (LCs), from the perspective of refugees living in Gaziantep Turkey. The deliberate and strategic labeling of an oppositional entity as ‘government’ may have been designed to present the Syrian and international audience with an alternative government even though, in many ways, the SIG lacked ‘governmental’ characteristics in its early beginnings. While the SIG was formed outside, LCs flourished inside Syria. Refugee voices indicate that people expect an alternative governing structure to emerge from inside Syria and don’t see an outsider entity as a legitimate power. The article builds on concepts of government, governmentality, and rhizomatic social theory. Through the experiences and perceptions of refugees, the article draws comparisons between LCs and the SIG to analyze how oppositional bodies may shape the progression of ongoing protracted conflicts.

Keywords: Civil Wars, Local councils, Syrian Interim Government, Refugees, Government, Governmentality

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