This study explores the experience of people who are faced with displacement, disability, and deafness simultaneously: Deaf refugees from Syria, Palestine, Iraq, and elsewhere who are in Jordan and Lebanon. The focal point is the agency of Deaf refugees in how they navigate barriers, vulnerabilities, stigma, and marginalization and make strategic decisions to meet their needs and pursue their life trajectories. Deaf refugees in Jordan and Lebanon will take part in a participatory methodology to co-create a conceptual framework of their agency. Deaf refugees face two displacements simultaneously. As Deaf people, they navigate displacement in a hearing world where they face communication and sensory barriers, they are displaced again by conflict or other factors and become refugees. This doubled displacement makes the experience of Deaf refugees a unique examination of displacement and agency. Deaf refugee agency is nuanced in the ways that make this minority unique, such as linguistic and cultural factors that are not passed through familial or geographic connections. This leads to community building among a transnational and intersectional group of Deaf refugees during displacement. Deaf refugee agency is consistent with aspects of Deaf, disabled, refugee, and minority agency – culminating in a rich example of human agency which will be explored in this research.


Type: PhD, Qualitative Research, Participatory Action Research

Timeline: 2019 – 2022

Contact: Kate McAuliff, [email protected]

Institution: Center for Development and Emergency Practice (CENDEP), Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK

Supervisors: Professor Cathrine Brun, Dr. Supriya Akerkar, Dr. Maha Shuayb