Lifeworlds in Crisis

Making Refugees in the Chad–Sudan Borderlands



“Lifeworlds in Crisis” by Andrea Behrends offers an insightful look into survival and adaptation amidst the Darfur War. Through two decades of fieldwork, it explores the resilience of those displaced or involved, highlighting grassroots cooperation over large-scale interventions. This book is a must-read for understanding human resilience in crisis.

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Number of pages: 392

Published: 01 February 2024

SKU: 9781911723226 Categories: , Tags: , , ,


In “Lifeworlds in Crisis,” anthropologist Andrea Behrends presents a profound and revealing exploration of the human condition amidst the backdrop of the Darfur War, a conflict that has reshaped the lives of hundreds of thousands since 2003. With over two decades of meticulous fieldwork, Behrends delves into the heart of western Sudan and neighbouring Chad, areas ravaged by a war often referred to as the ‘first genocide of the twenty-first century’. Through her lens, readers are introduced to the resilience and ingenuity of communities that have faced mass displacement, fleeing from their homes to the uncertain safety of towns and refugee camps, or finding themselves on the front lines of conflict.

This book stands apart by focusing not on the large-scale humanitarian or military responses typically associated with crises, but on the intricate web of cooperation and knowledge exchange that blooms in the most dire conditions. Behrends tracks the varied experiences of those who remained in their war-torn homelands, those who sought refuge in urban areas or camps, and those who took up arms, weaving together their stories to offer a nuanced perspective on survival and adaptation.

“Lifeworlds in Crisis” is more than a study of conflict and displacement; it is a testament to the human spirit’s capacity to create belonging, exchange knowledge, and forge futures amidst extreme uncertainty. By highlighting the everyday strategies of survival and the small-scale forms of cooperation that emerge on the ground, Behrends provides a pioneering study that challenges conventional narratives around states of emergency and humanitarian intervention. Through detailed ethnographic description and theoretically grounded arguments, this book is a crucial read for anyone seeking to understand the complexities of life in one of the world’s most economically marginalized regions, and the broader implications for state politics in the region.

Perfect for students, scholars, and readers with an interest in anthropology, conflict studies, and humanitarian response, “Lifeworlds in Crisis” illuminates the resilience of communities that, in the face of recurring crises and war, continue to anticipate, survive, and adapt. This book not only contributes to academic discourse but also offers insights into the human condition, making it an essential addition to the fields of anthropology and social science.

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