LABOUR IN THE LEVANT
Syrian migrants in Lebanon
What am I, a man or a resource?
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
Visions of international migration have, on the Left, been divided into two broad political and historiographical currents.  I am indebted to As’ad Abu Khalil, Sharad Chari, Alex Colas, Jens Hanssen, Laleh Khalili, Zachary Lockman, Martha Mundy and Yaseen Noorani for their invaluable feedback on earlier versions of this paper. I would also like to thank Kifah Hanna, Ghassan Maasri and Khaled Malas for their assistance with research and translation. On the one hand, an anti-colonial Marxist and feminist tradition has long seen labour migration as a means for capitalism and imperialism to exploit menial, cheap and quiescent labour, the ‘new helots’ of the post-colonial world.  Robin Cohen, The New Helots: Migrants in the International Division of Labour, Aldershot, uk 1987. On the other, scholars in cultural and post-colonial studies have generally told a more upbeat story, in which border-crossing, hybridity and migrant agency work to destabilize foundationalist metanarratives, complicate simple binaries of Self and Other, and raise hopes for a ‘cosmopolitan dawn’.
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