Traumatic Masculinities. The disconnect between the feminized policies and practices of humanitarian aid and the gendered reality of Syrian refugee life in settlements in Lebanon.
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Violence in refugee camps, in particular sexual and gender-based violence, is connected to distorted gender relations amongst the refugee population. To improve understanding of the dynamics of gender and violence, men as a gendered category need to be incorporated in academic research. Based on in-depth interviews with both male and female Syrian refugees and aid workers this thesis finds that the precarious status of refugees in Bekaa, Lebanon, taps into specific aspects and forces renegotiation of traditional gender roles. Yet changes of gendered practises don’t automatically provoke a shift in gendered norms about manhood. Idealised normative gender expectations are held on to, but impossible to attain, creating traumatic masculinities. The discrepancy between ideals and reality leaves men emasculated, what ultimately results in violence. The strong and simplistic focus of humanitarian aid on women does not do not fully reflect and correspond to the gendered reality of refugee life, what risks playing into the dynamics that foster inequality sexual and gender based violence.