Transformation of the Syrian business community after the 2011 uprising: the formation of a war-induced business diaspora and the reorganisation of their networks
This thesis aims to analyse how the Syrian business community has been transformed by the 2011 revolution and how this transformation has had an impact on Syrian business networks. The thesis draws on a range of previous literature on the Syrian business community and on business diaspora in order to set up a triadic analysis framework which includes the interrelations between the host country-home country-diaspora to analyse the transformation of expatriate Syrian businessmen in Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan, as well as using rich ethnographic material collected by the researcher through his nine months of field research in Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan. The importance of this study lies in the great amount of capital and potential political economic influence of the Syrian business communities in Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan. Even though the economic and political strengths of the expatriate Syrian business community in these three countries have come to light since mid-2012, currently there are no studies focusing on the emergence of expatriate Syrian business communities. Furthermore, Syrian businessmen used to play important roles in Syria prior to their departures after 2011, and their ties with the Assad regime were considered to be symbiotic. The research not only demonstrates a case for the emergence of a war-induced business diaspora, but also retrospectively helps to establish a better understanding of the Syrian business community in the pre-2011 era and the businessmen’s reactions towards the unprecedented civil uprising, and later development in the host countries. It is argued that due to the prolongation and complication of the Syrian conflict, the Syrian business community is developing into a war-induced business diaspora in the countries to which they have relocated, and also played important roles in economic, philanthropic, and political fields in the host countries. Also, the former fragmented Syrian business networks have reorganised into more cooperative and transnationalised networks as a consequence of their relocation and settlement.