Informal institutions are increasingly recognized as a core concept in our understanding of the organization of socio-political life in refugee communities. This article contributes to this understanding by exploring the ways in which urban refugees in the Palestinian informal community, known as gathering, of Maashouk create, reconfigure and contest informal institutions in their quest to access basic urban services such as electricity, water, waste management and shelter maintenance. In particular, the findings generated through an innovative process mapping methodology suggest that informal institutions do not merely complement and challenge existing formal institutions, but also portend future ones. Formalization of service delivery, however, is complicated by the fact that current informality does not merely stem from residents’ coping mechanisms, but also from Lebanese state officials’ nascence of how to deal with people who are neither citizens nor residents of UN-administered refugee camps.

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Journal Journal of Refugee Studies
Yassin, N., Stel, N., & Rassi, R. (2016). Organized Chaos: Informal Institution Building among Palestinian Refugees in the Maashouk Gathering in South Lebanon. Journal of Refugee Studies, 29(3), 341–362. doi:10.1093/jrs/few016