Developmental Humanitarianism, Resilience and (Dis)empowerment in a Syrian Refugee Camp

Through a case study on Za'atari camp in Jordan, this paper joins a growing body of critical studies highlighting discrepancies between developmental humanitarian policies promoting the resilience and empowerment of refugees vis‐à‐vis realities inside camps. It shows how camp authorities incrementally unwound and stifled refugee self‐governance structures and informal entrepreneurialism. It also highlights the influence of Jordanian state priorities over the aid operation and the supportive role played by the UN Refugee Agency in affirming state priorities. The paper argues that even if well‐intentioned developmental humanitarianism can ultimately diminish the scope for meaningful refugee empowerment.