Conventional media portrayals of Syrian refugees in Lebanon evoke a familiar image: women and children standing wide-eyed in front of their modest white tarpaulin tents, with the ubiquitous blue UNHCR logo serving as a reminder of their seemingly temporary status. Against the backdrop of Lebanon’s deepening economic and other crises over the past several years, Syrians have become convenient scapegoats for the country’s problems within the discourse of right-wing politicians and segments of the Lebanese public. The trope of “Syrian overpopulation,” rooted in the stereotyped figure of the aid-dependent refugee, has served as a justification for stricter controls of Syrians’ cross-border and internal mobility. And yet, the vast majority of Syrians are not idly waiting in camps for UN aid, nor are they a drain on Lebanon’s economy. From construction, to agriculture, to delivery services, Syrians form the very backbone of Lebanon’s low-wage labor force, alongside other migrant populations. In fact, significant numbers of Syrians registered as refugees have been working as seasonal labor migrants in Lebanon for decades. Even newcomers are often connected to long-standing networks of village-level labor recruitment rooted in previous migrations from Syria to Lebanon.
As an anthropologist, I spent eighteen months working with Syrian farmworker-refugees in Lebanon’s agricultural heartland, the Bekaa Valley. Much of my fieldwork took place in a camp run by a shaweesh[i] (headman) from Aleppo, who I will pseudonymously call Abu Sharif. He is one among hundreds of shaweesh in Lebanon who provide shelter and work opportunities to Syrians through an elaborate agricultural labor-recruiting system. As an upwardly-mobile former labor migrant from Syria who has accumulated enough capital and social connections to establish a camp in Lebanon, Abu Sharif recruits Syrians in need of jobs and affordable housing. Though shaweesh camps (locally known as warshat)[ii] have existed for decades, the network of camps they operate expanded significantly after Syrians began to flee to Lebanon en masse after the 2011 Syrian popular uprising devolved into a protracted war. Since then, most of the shaweesh camps have expanded and are registered with the United Nations as refugee camps, but they are still referred to by their residents as warshat. Hailing from the poorest regions of Syria, the precarious refugee-workers who reside in these camps provide a highly flexible supply of cheap labor to virtually every farm in the Bekaa Valley.
It is increasingly evident that Lebanon faces an imminent food crisis. This is an outcome of a series of converging economic, environmental, and epidemiological shocks that have sent food prices soaring. This crisis has been compounded by a devastating explosion that destroyed Lebanon’s main port of Beirut and much of its surroundings. Such dynamics reflect a broader global crisis of food production. Amidst decades of liberalizing labor regulations and privatizing public agricultural institutions and resources, one of the defining features of today’s “neoliberal food regime”[iii] is the massive migration of landless and land-poor farmers in search of waged work across borders. Within Lebanon’s agricultural sector, this role has been crucially filled by Syrian migrant laborers who, for the past several decades, have migrated seasonally across the border to plant, harvest, and weed virtually every type of fruit and vegetable upon which Lebanese consumers depend.
The expansion of the shaweesh camp system parallels the application of the Economic Reform and Market Liberalization (al-islah al-iqtisadi wa- tahrir al-suq) in Syria. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, and particularly following the accession of Bashar al-Assad to the Syrian presidency in 2000, the country's centrally planned economy progressively shifted away from the Ba'thist paradigm of state-controlled “food self-sufficiency” toward increasing embeddedness in the globalized market economy.[iv] This was epitomized by Syria’s signing of the General Arab Free Trade Agreement (GAFTA) in 2005, slashing state-subsidized goods (tamwin), privatization of state-owned farms in the Euphrates Basin, and subjecting previously state-mandated prices to a competitive market dominated by regional traders and agro-processing capital.[v] According to some estimates, from 2002 to 2008 Syria lost forty percent of its agricultural workforce—in part as a result of Law 56 of 2004 that weakened tenancy protections by allowing landlords to replace long-term tenancy agreements with temporary contracts.[vi] The devastating effects of these economic reforms on Syria’s poorest populations were exacerbated by a series of recurrent droughts from 2007 to 2012. This led to mass migrations of destitute rural populations in search of waged work to Syria’s cities and further west to Lebanon.[vii] Many of the workers in Abu Sharif’s camp, like other shaweesh camp residents, were part of this wave of migration of displaced sharecroppers, agro-pastoralists, and subsistence farmers from Eastern Syria collectively known as shawaya.[viii] Their migrations exemplify the contemporary problem of “dispossession by displacement”,[ix] defined by increasing global migrations of farmers dispossessed through direct force or the compulsion of economic forces. When the Syrian uprising began in 2011, many of the first protests took place in rural and peri-urban areas coping with economic dislocation. As this popular uprising devolved into a brutal conflict that persists nine years later, it is the rural poor of Syria who have borne the brunt of the devastation wrought by war.
In tandem with the rise of seasonal migration from Syria to Lebanon, Lebanon has featured a steady decline in the viability of small-scale farming in the last fifty years. The decades leading up to the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) included the proliferation of large capitalist farms in the Bekaa Valley, Akkar, and the southern coastal plain, where citrus, sugar beets, and potatoes were grown.[x] This marked the emergence of a growing Lebanese “agro-exporting bourgeoisie” composed of Lebanese traders from major cities and the diaspora.[xi] As production became dominated by this new class of wealthy capitalist farmers, large numbers of small-holding or landless Lebanese farmers began working on these large plantations as sharecroppers and agricultural wage laborers. Others began migrating to Lebanon’s cities or abroad in search of work. By the eve of the Lebanese Civil War (1975), an estimated forty percent of Lebanon’s entire rural population had left the countryside—swelling the ranks of the urban proletariat.[xii] This dynamic of proletarianization continued throughout Lebanon’s postwar transition from 1990 onward, as large-scale land purchases became an increasingly attractive investment for Lebanon’s elite classes, particularly wealthy emigrés. As part of the postwar consensus, Lebanon engaged in a path of aggressive trade liberalization, bolstered by GAFTA, which lowered prices for Lebanese consumers, but has been detrimental to small farmers.[xiii] Rising land rents placed the possibility of deriving a secure livelihood from farming further beyond the reach of most Lebanese. As a result, Lebanon’s agricultural sector faces a problem of “generational succession”,[xiv] in which the majority of Lebanese rural youth must pursue off-farm employment in lieu of or alongside agriculture in order to survive.
It is against this historical backdrop that the intensification of Syrian labor migration to Lebanon must be understood. As Abu Ahmad, a Lebanese shaweesh who runs a camp near Abu Sharif explained to me, “Before the warshat (shaweesh camps), we used to work small pieces of land cooperatively with my family’s labor. Now, what happened? The (Lebanese) small farmer has practically disappeared. Now it is just a few big farmers who have capital.” He goes on: “When there were small farmers like us in Lebanon . . . I would rent fifty dunum of land for the season using just my family’s labor and we could actually make a living from farming. We did not need to hire Syrian workers. I became a shaweesh when I could not survive from farming anymore.” Lebanese agriculturalists are constantly adjusting their production to an unregulated local and regional export market, which has led to the growing concentration of wealth into the hands of a privileged few with access to the necessary capital to remain competitive. Within this competitive market, Lebanese producers have sought to reduce production costs by driving down wages and relying on more labor-intensive cultivation techniques. Long-standing Syrian migrants and small Lebanese farmers capitalized on this shift in labor demand through the creation of the shaweesh camp system. These camps serve as low-cost sources of housing and services for poor Syrian labor migrants who otherwise would not be able to afford the relatively high cost of living in Lebanon. In this way, they sustain the outsourcing of labor by absorbing the costs of reproduction that would normally be covered by the Lebanese state. Thus, contrary to the simplistic trope that Syrians are “stealing” Lebanese jobs, Abu Ahmad’s narrative makes clear that the displacement of small-scale Lebanese farmers and concomitant reliance on Syrian migrant labor were driven by the shifting imperatives of agrarian capitalist accumulation.
Prior to 2011, Syrian nationals were permitted to spend six months as temporary residents in Lebanon, returning frequently to Syria for health care, schooling, and subsidized goods. As Abu Sharif explained to me, “Before the war, all of the workers used to come back at the beginning of summer to work. They would bring a tent made of animal hide (bayt sha’r) from their villages, just a basic cover, since you do not need much in the warm, summer months. And then we would take the tents back to Syria with us in the winter and come back the following summer.” Since the conflict in Syria began, many of these formerly seasonal workers have effectively become stuck in Lebanon. Thus, they must cope with the higher costs of living in Lebanon year-round. Facing the dual loss of social benefits from the Syrian welfare state and a source of seasonal subsistence from their land in Syria, many refugees have become increasingly dependent on labor opportunities offered by shaweesh camps.
Abu Sharif’s camp functions through a credit-debt system, in which newly arrived Syrian refugee-workers go into debt to the shaweesh for the cost of their tent and their yearly rent, as well as everyday consumption needs, health care, and major occasions such as weddings, bridewealth payments, and funerals. In exchange, Abu Sharif is responsible for securing agricultural jobs for camp residents, negotiating payment and working hours with Lebanese employers, and transporting the camp residents to their jobs in his flatbed truck. As is typically the case in shaweesh camps, Abu Sharif resides in a tent in the camp alongside the workers, including members of his extended family. He is the only member of the camp with a Lebanese bank account, and thus with access to hard cash. As such, he has taken on the function of a moneylender for the indebted, cash-poor Syrian refugee-workers living in his camp. Abu Sharif is expected to lend money when workers request it, which he records in his monthly ledger (jarad). His accounting system is measured in terms of year-long seasonal commitments for each tent in the camp. Those who remain indebted, which is usually the majority, are obliged to stay in the camp and keep working for the upcoming year. Those who have worked off their debt have the option to leave the camp, work in a different camp, or go back to Syria.
Throughout the war in Syria, shaweesh camps’ distributive practices have been reconfigured by workers’ loss of cross-border mobility, as refugee-workers go into debt throughout the long winter and depend on a continuous flow of credit during slack periods without agricultural work. As in the case of a mortgage, the shaweesh can, in principle, foreclose and seize a tent if a worker in the camp fails to pay off her debt. However, in practice, workers are under no strict obligation to make monthly or even yearly payments, or to work off their debt within a stipulated period. This means that there are households that have accumulated several years’ worth of debts. In particular, households who lack a sufficient number of able-bodied workers relative to the number of dependents are often so deeply in debt to the shaweesh that they no longer envisage working off their debt or ever returning to Syria, but simply carry on with collecting their meager daily salaries, assured that they will not be evicted as long as they keep working. Thus is the constitutive tension between paternalistic obligation and bonded exploitation that sustains Abu Sharif’s authority. If refugee-workers were to try to find housing within a conventional rental market or to take a bank loan to pay their rent, they would not find the type of flexibility in repayment that the shaweesh offers to camp residents.
By ensuring the recruitment and reproduction of a highly precarious pool of migrant labor, the shaweesh labor-recruitment system helps ensure that the costs of labor remain low for Lebanese employers in agriculture (which include Lebanese landlords and capitalist farmers who oversee cultivation on behalf of landlords). At the same time, the shaweesh is a facilitator of critical services for workers who are coping with the loss of social benefits provided by the Syrian state and the subsistence they derived from their own land in Syria, both of which were predicated on seasonal migrations that have become increasingly difficult, and in some cases impossible, throughout the war in Syria. As Abu Sharif’s nephew who also works as a shaweesh explained to me, “It feels like everyone is indebted (madyunin). Workers cannot afford anything and the burden is on the shaweesh to keep providing for them.” Thus, despite being an exploiter of labor, the shaweesh is also tied up in complex paternalistic relations with the camp residents, who valorize his function as a provider of essential services, without which they could not survive the high cost of living year-round in Lebanon as refugees. This is captured vividly in the sentiments of Fatima, a worker who has lived in Abu Sharif’s camp since 2006: “Even if the shaweesh exploits me (byistaghilni), I know with him my livelihood is guaranteed (al-ma'ash madmun).”
While it would be tempting to focus on Abu Sharif as the most visible figure within an obviously exploitative system, it is important to emphasize that his role within Lebanese agriculture is made possible by much broader economic and political forces. It is the drive for a flexible supply of cheap labor among Lebanese employers and landlords that keeps the shaweesh labor-recruitment system alive. The local and regional export agricultural market in Lebanon is highly unregulated. A casual visit to the agricultural market in Qab Elias in western Bekaa Valley, one of the largest suppliers of produce in Lebanon, reveals that prices fluctuate significantly on a day-to-day basis, and sometimes even from hour-to-hour. Lebanese employers are attracted to the flexibility of shaweesh camps, as they can cancel, shorten, or reduce labor assignments depending on the market—or as it is colloquially referred to “on demand” (’al talabiyya)—in contrast to formalized labor recruitment systems in which compensation and benefits are contractually bound and state-mandated.
Lebanese employers pay Abu Sharif eight thousand Lebanese lira (LL) for each worker per shift, from which he takes a two thousand lira commission. This means workers’ take-home wage is six thousand lira per shift.[xv] Called “youmiya” in Arabic, a typical shift lasts five hours. Corresponding roughly to Islamic prayer schedules, the first shift starts after sunrise prayer (salat al-fajr) and the second shift begins from salat al-dhuhur (noon prayer) or salat al-asr (afternoon prayer) until salat al-maghbrib (sunset prayer). In the winter season, workers are lucky if they receive one shift, taking home six thousand lira per person each day. During the summer, each worker can expect to make about twelve thousand lira per day. One of the reasons child labor is so common in Lebanon’s agriculture sector is because families in these circumstances are pooling their limited wages as a single household income: characteristic of what Soviet agrarian economist Alexander Chayanov (1925) famously referred to as the labor-consumer balance. Lebanese employers are afforded flexibility in payments, which are paid to Abu Sharif retroactively rather than as an advance because the number of workers varies so significantly from day-to-day. This means that, for the duration of a given season, Abu Sharif must carefully manage flows of payment from employers in relation to flows of credit to workers, even if he has not yet been paid by employers. Because work assignments are structured around an on-call labor-reserve system, Abu Sharif’s bank account is vulnerable to fluctuations and liquidity problems, especially in the winter low season.
The workers who live in the shaweesh camps, whether male or female, are always referred to collectively by Lebanese employers as “girls” (banat), which indexes their feminized position within the agricultural labor market. For example, a typical way in which a Lebanese employer requests workers for the next day is to say to Abu Sharif, “Bring us fifty girls tomorrow (jibilna khamsin banat bukra).” The designation of certain tasks as “women’s work” and others as “men’s work” is a mechanism of normalizing the cheapening of the wage, as women’s work is consistently undervalued within agricultural labor relations. Lebanese employers expect camp residents to be highly compliant and adaptable to the varying duration, intensity, and nature of their work assignments. I can recall on countless occasions waking up in workers’ tents for the morning shift to the sound of rain, which was always a tell-tale sign that employers would not provide work or wages that day, even if they had made an agreement with Abu Sharif the day before. Further, one of the ways that Lebanese employers increase productivity (and thus, the rate of labor exploitation), is by alternating between a “youmia” schedule (five-hour shifts) and a “maqtu’a” schedule (piece-rate). Instead of a five-hour block of time, a maqtu’a piece-rate measures workers’ output in terms of a set number of filled crates (sharhat) or a stipulated distance, which incentivizes the workers to labor much more quickly. Young, able-bodied workers tend to prefer maqtu’a, because it allows them to finish their shifts early or make more than one shift’s worth of wages within a five-hour period. Older workers and children often struggle to work quickly enough to meet a high piece-rate on a given day. As Chari (2004) argues, piece-rates give the deceptive appearance that workers have greater control over their own labor time. However, in the long run, they undermine workers’ collective bargaining capabilities, which is why they tend to be opposed by unions and organized labor movements.
Alongside the drive for cheap, flexible labor among Lebanese employers, the dynamics of speculation in agricultural land among Lebanese absentee landlords is an additional force sustaining the shaweesh labor recruitment system. Abu Sharif’s camp is situated on a small tract of previously uncultivated agricultural land owned by a Lebanese absentee landlord residing in Qatar. The yearly rent for the camp is 16,667 US dollars (25,000,000 Lebanese lira at the official exchange rate), which Abu Sharif divides among each household and pays to the Lebanese landlord via bank transfer every year. There are thirty tents in the camp, not all of which are filled. The camp residents pay anywhere from 750,000 to 1,000,000 lira per year in rent to Abu Sharif, depending on the size of their tent.
I recently spoke to Abu Sharif about how the currency crisis in Lebanon has affected the workers living in his camp. “The increase in prices is obscene (ghala’ fahish),” he sighed. “The price of the worker remains the same. And a bag of sugar is 56,000. The worker is beholden to the dollar. God help the worker (Allah ykun bi’awan al-fa’il).” Worse yet, he lamented, the landlord in Qatar—who owns the land on which the camp is situated—insists that the yearly rent be paid in US dollars. This poses a significant problem for Abu Sharif’s accounting, as the workers’ wages are still paid in Lebanese lira. “I told her, 'I have fifteen million lira for you,'” Abu Sharif said, emphasizing that his careful calculations of the camp’s debt and credit balances could not have accounted for such a precipitous devaluation of the Lebanese currency. “I told her, 'Have mercy, Madame, the situation is tragic (al-wada’ ma’sawi). People can barely eat or drink (al-’alam ma ‘am talhaq ta’kul wa-tashrub).” He continued, “I swear to God, everyone in the camp is working on a day’s sustenance alone (al-’alam ‘am yshtaghil ‘ala al-qut al-yawmi). What is the value of a worker’s daily wage of six or seven thousand? Before, it was worth four dollars. That was okay. Today, it is worth one dollar!”
Though Abu Sharif did not state it explicitly, it appears that his camp faces a real possibility of imminent eviction, as the inflated value of yearly rent payments and the simultaneous devaluation workers’ wages has sent the camp deep into debt. The hundreds of other shaweesh camps across Lebanon’s agricultural fields are surely facing a similar predicament. Within the specific dynamics of Abu Sharif’s camp, the broader contradictions of the Lebanese currency crisis are evident. Contrary to the common-sense notion that such labor arrangements are due to “corruption” or “bad-intentioned opportunists,” the shaweesh labor recruitment system emerged and expanded because it was profitable to a class of prosperous Lebanese landlords and employers. This system now faces the threat of collapse due to the contradictions inherent in the very forces that once made it profitable: Lebanon’s rentier-capitalist approach to food production.
Lebanon’s food crisis has brought into focus a tragic contradiction concerning agriculture: despite its fertile land and capacity for domestic agricultural production, Lebanon imports eighty percent of its food, according to some estimates. The idea of boosting Lebanon’s domestic agricultural production and achieving food sovereignty is now conceived as an urgent necessity at even the highest levels of government. If food sovereignty is to be more than only a slogan, however, we must begin with a perspective from the Syrian laborers who produce the food that nourishes Lebanon’s citizens. Contrary to stereotyped media depictions of Syrians in Lebanon as hapless victims sitting idly in refugee camps, Syrians are a fundamental and valuable pillar of Lebanon’s economy, particularly its food system. While the Lebanese economic crisis and the October revolution have often been framed as national-level issues confined to its citizens, the story of Abu Sharif’s camp suggests that, in the struggle for a more equitable, sustainable food production system, the fate of Syrians and Lebanese is deeply intertwined.
Acknowledgments: An abridged Arabic version of this article can be found on al-Khandak. This article is based on eighteen months of dissertation research generously funded by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the Orient-Institut of Beirut. The author thanks Dr. Birgit Schäbler, the OIB fellows and staff, Samer Ghaddar, Stephanie Love, Caity Bolton, Yasemin Ozer, Anna Reumert, Stefan Tarnowski, Aaron Eldridge, Sam Dinger, Amir Reicher, Dorit Price-Levine, Oriol Vallès Codina, Ziad Abu-Rish, and the anonymous reviewers at Jadaliyya for feedback on various versions of this piece. A special thanks to Ali Baba for his assistance with transcriptions and indispensable insights about Eastern Syria.
[i] The term shaweesh is drawn from the Turkish word çavuş, which refers to low-ranking military personnel (Mantran 2012). In Lebanon, it generally refers to someone vested with the responsibility to enforce discipline and is most commonly associated with individuals who oversee camps housing refugee-workers. Similar practices can be found in other regional contexts. Besky (2014) and Chatterjee (2001), for example, refer to the sardar (leader) in India, a contractor who recruits cheap labor to tea plantations, ensures payment, and provides services to workers.
[ii] Warsha is a polysemous term that commonly refers to small workshops, such as furniture making or automobile repair shops, or construction sites. In the case of the agricultural camps, it connotes a team of workers who live in a camp, usually overseen by a shaweesh.
[iii] Philip McMichael, “A Food Regime Genealogy,” The Journal of Peasant Studies 36, no. 1 (2009): 139–69.
[iv] Diana Sarkis Fernández, “‘‘Amnarjaʿ La Wara (We Are Going Backwards)’: Economic Reform and the Politics of Labour in Agrarian Syria,” in The Journal of Peasant Studies (2012): 1–18.
[vi] Myriam Ababsa, “Syria’s Food Security: From Self-Sufficiency to Hunger as a Weapon,” in Syria: From National Independence to Proxy War, ed. Linda Matar and Ali Kadri (Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2019).
[vii] Rami Zurayk, “Civil War and the Devastation of Syria’s Food System,” Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development 3, no. 2 (2013): 7–9.
[viii] While Syrian urbanites tend to view “shawaya” as an unequivocally pejorative term, ranging in meaning from “country bumpkin” to “gypsy” and generally referring to tribal populations from northeastern Syria, it has a more complex connotation among rural Eastern Syrians themselves. According to Lancaster and Lancaster (2012), the term shawaya refers to pastoralists who herd sheep as their main source of livelihood, usually of a lower status than camel herders. Under the French Mandate, colonial officials categorized shawaya as “semi-sedentary tribes” in contrast to the “real Bedouin,” sometimes depicting them as “‘degenerate Bedouin’ who had lost their noble virtues” (Lange 2005) who were “associated with lying, theft, and more licentious sexual mores” (Lange 2015). In contrast, in my own research, the word shawaya carries a more positive connotation and is a common self-designation. For example, refugee-workers in the camp proudly refer to their dialect of Arabic as shawiya. Workers explain the word’s origin as a reference to the verb shawy (to grill), which they see as a mark of their reputation for generosity as “those who grill meat” (Lange 2005).
[ix] Farshad Araghi, “The Invisible Hand and the Visible Foot: Peasants, Dispossession and Globalisation,” in Peasants and Globalization: Political Economy, Rural Transformation and the Agrarian Question, ed. A.H. Akram-Lodhi and Cristobal Kay (London: Routledge, 2007).
[x] Salim Nasr, “Backdrop to Civil War: The Crisis of Lebanese Capitalism,” MERIP Reports 73 (1978): 3–13.
[xiii] Nathalie Allam, “Farming Is like Gambling: An Examination of the Decline of Produce Farming in Lebanon’s Central Bekaa Valley” (M.A. Thesis, The George Washington University, 2011).
[xiv] Ben White, “Generational Dynamics in Agriculture: Reflections on Rural Youth and Farming Futures,” Cahiers Agricultures 24, no. 6 (2015): 330–34.
[xv] The Lebanese lira has been pegged to the US dollar since the 1990s as part of Lebanon’s post-civil war neoliberal transition. For the past several years, signs of a looming economic crisis were increasingly apparent, including capital flight, skyrocketing public debt, and a protracted trade deficit. In October 2019, popular uprisings spread across the country as Lebanon’s economy spiralled into further crisis. Compounded by the effects of COVID-19, the Lebanese lira has been severely devalued. Until October 2019, a worker’s wage rate of six thousand lira per five-hour shift was worth four dollars. Today, it is worth less than one dollar.
Myriam Ababsa, “Syria’s Food Security: From Self-Sufficiency to Hunger as a Weapon,” in Syria: From National Independence to Proxy War, ed. Linda Matar and Ali Kadri (Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2019).
Nathalie Allam, “Farming Is like Gambling: An Examination of the Decline of Produce Farming in Lebanon’s Central Bekaa Valley” (M.A. Thesis, The George Washington University, 2011).
Farshad Araghi, “The Invisible Hand and the Visible Foot: Peasants, Dispossession and Globalisation,” in Peasants and Globalization: Political Economy, Rural Transformation and the Agrarian Question, ed. A.H. Akram-Lodhi and Cristobal Kay (London: Routledge, 2007).
Sarah Besky, The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013).
Sharad Chari, Fraternal Capital: Peasant-Workers, Self-Made Men, and Globalization in Provincial India (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004).
Piya Chatterjee, A Time for Tea: Women, Labor, and Post/Colonial Politics on an Indian Plantation (Durham: Duke University Press, 2001).
Alexander V. Chayanoc, The Theory of Peasant Economy, ed. Daniel Thorner, Basile Kerblay, and R.E.F. Smith (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1966 ).
Fidelity Lancaster and William Lancaster, “Shawiya- Syrian and the Arabian Peninsula,” Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd. edition (Leiden: Brill, 2012).
Katharina Lange, “Shawaya: Economic Mélange, Pure Origins? Outsiders’ and Insiders’ Accounts of Tribal Identity in Northern Syria,” in Shifts and Drifts in Nomad-Sedentary Relations, ed. Wiesbaden, Reichert, Stefan Leder and Bernhard Streck (Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 2005).
Katharina Lange, “‘Bedouin’ and ‘Shawaya’: The Performative Constitution of Tribal Identities in Syria during the French Mandate and Today,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 58, no. 1–2(2015): 200–35.
Robert Mantran, “Ca’ush,” in Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd edition (Leiden: Brill, 2012).
Philip McMichael, “A Food Regime Genealogy,” The Journal of Peasant Studies 36, no. 1 (2009): 139–69.
Salim Nasr, “Backdrop to Civil War: The Crisis of Lebanese Capitalism,” MERIP Reports 73 (1978): 3–13.
Diana Sarkis Fernández, “‘‘Amnarjaʿ La Wara (We Are Going Backwards)’: Economic Reform and the Politics of Labour in Agrarian Syria,” in The Journal of Peasant Studies (2012): 1–18.
Ben White, “Generational Dynamics in Agriculture: Reflections on Rural Youth and Farming Futures,” Cahiers Agricultures 24, no. 6 (2015): 330–34.
Rami Zurayk, “Civil War and the Devastation of Syria’s Food System,” Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development 3, no. 2 (2013): 7–9.