Crystallizing human resilience processes through refugee stories

Abrar Hammoud, Purdue University


In the Autumn of 2011, United Nations Special Envoy Angelina Jolie explained that refugees "are among the most vulnerable and yet the most resilient people on earth." (Associated Press, 2011). In this research project, I expand on why and how Jolie might have labeled refugees in this way. In particular, I discuss how refugee resilience is communicatively constituted in ways that both extend and differ from Buzzanell's (2010) processes. Drawing upon my research and personal experience in a Palestinian refugee camp ("Jabal") in Jordan as well as NGO documents, my photos and videos, academic research, and conversations with Jabal residents, I engage in crystallization to describe three communicative resilience processes. I primarily utilize an autoethnographic case study that aligns with crystallization (see Ellingson, 2009) for a layered presentational approach. In the three resilience processes, I document discursive and material intersections. These processes are: (a) accomplishing one process of resilience by doing another; (b) reframing meaningful work as a salient identity anchor; and (c) shifting among continuities and discontinuities within resilience processing. Overall, my contributions indicate that resilience processes work differently in particular contexts and that the processes form combinations that differ from what Buzzanell (2010) originally theorized.




Buzzanell, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Middle Eastern history|Social research|Communication

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