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Katharina Lenner


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Personal profile

Research interests

My work focuses on the politics of development and social policy, the governance of migration and refugees, as well as postcolonial and anthropological perspectives on statehood and collective identities.I am a political scientist by training, yet my theoretical and topical interests, as well as my area studies expertise, have meant that my work is interdisciplinary. My research and teaching builds on a broad, cross-disciplinary notion of political and socio-economic change in the global South, particularly in the Arab world, which is grounded in social and political theorizing as well as in-depth qualitative research in the region. Most of my empirical research to date has focused on Jordan.

While my Ph.D. thesis focused on the politics of poverty alleviation policy, my postdoctoral work has concentrated more on the governance of the Syrian presence in Jordan and other states in the region. Recently, I have become particularly interested in policies that seek to address refugees as labour market participants. This has included looking at the role of donors in promoting these policies, the contradictions they encounter, and the manifold effects they have on the ground. I am currently analysing the role of German-funded and/or implemented projects and programmes seeking to create or improve employment for Syrian refugees and host communities in Jordan.

Please note that I am on maternity leave until fall 2018.

Education/Academic qualification

Political Science, Doctor of Philosophy, Freie Universität Berlin

Political Science, Master of Arts, Freie Universität Berlin

Middle East Politics, Master of Science, School of Oriental and African Studies


  • migration governance
  • development
  • refugees
  • Arab world
  • donors
  • humanitarianism
  • Jordan

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  • 3 Similar Profiles
Jordan Social Sciences
refugee Social Sciences
politics Social Sciences
labor market Social Sciences
Syria Social Sciences
Lebanon Social Sciences
deprivation Social Sciences
neglect Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2017 2019


Research Output 2011 2019

6 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)

Making Refugees Work? The Politics of Integrating Syrian Refugees Into the Labor Market in Jordan

Lenner, K. & Turner, L., 2 Jan 2019, In : Middle East Critique. 28, 1, p. 65-95 31 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
labor market
survival strategy

Learning from the Jordan Compact

Lenner, K. & Turner, L., 21 Feb 2018, Forced Migration Review, 57, p. 48-51 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

Open Access

Blasts from the past: Policy legacies and memories in the making of the Jordanian response to the Syrian refugee crisis

Lenner, K., Jul 2016, European University Institute, 32 p. (EUI Working Papers, Max Weber Red Number Series; vol. 2016, no. 32).

Research output: Working paper

work permit
professional experience

Syrian Refugees in Jordan and Lebanon: between refuge and ongoing deprivation?

Lenner, K. & Susanne, S., Sep 2016, IEMed Mediterranean Yearbook 2016. Barcelona: European Institute of the Mediterranean, p. 122-126 5 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Open Access
neighboring countries

The politics of pledging: reflections on the London donors conference for Syria

Lenner, K., Feb 2016, Florence: European University Institute. 8 p. (MPC Policy Briefs; vol. 2016, no. 03)

Research output: Book/ReportOther report

Open Access
development project