Living in Limbo with Hope: Sudanese Refugees and Social Injustice in Egypt

By: Gamal A. Adam, PhD


Within this book, Dr. Gamal Adam explores the resilience and hope that Sudanese refugees exhibit despite the social injustice they experience, while living in Cairo, Egypt, on a daily basis. The book Living in Limbo with Hope: Sudanese Refugees and Social Injustice in Egypt is not about refugee life in rural East Africa, but about refugee life in a major urban center. This differentiates Dr. Adam’s work, as the majority of existing research on East African refugees tends to concentrate upon camp life in rural areas.Dr. Adam accomplishes three crucial things within this book. First, he describes coping strategies employed by urban Sudanese refugees. Next Dr. Adam examines emerging identities that urban Sudanese refugees are forming in result of their lived experiences of exclusion and exploitation. Finally, Dr. Adam explores what hopes urban Sudanese men, women and children have while living in Cairo.

  • ISBN: 978-0-9919441-3-2
    Price: $32.00
    Binding: Paperback
    Date: 2014
    Rights: World
    Pages: 232
    Size: 7″ x 10.5″

  • Table of Contents

    Map of Cairo
    Ommad’s shelter in Arb’a wa Nus
    Table of Contents
    List of Tables

    1. Introduction

    2. Refugees in East Africa and Libya

    3. Sudanese Refugees in Cairo

    4. Sudanese Refugee Administration in Cairo

    5. Egyptian Refugee Policies and their Impact on Sudanese Refugees’ Housing Conditions

    6. Sudanese Refugees’ Survival Strategies in Response to Difficult Residential and Work Conditions in Cairo

    7. Change of Gener Roles and its Impact on Family Life

    8. Sudanese Refugees: Violence and Hope

    9. Conclusion

    About the Author

  • Gamal A. Adam, PhD

    Gamal A. Adam, PhD was born and raised in Kidinyeer (Jabel Marra, Darfur, Sudan). He studied in Sudan, France, Egypt, and Canada where he received his PhD in Social Anthropology from York University in Toronto (Ontario) in 2012. Dr. Adam has taught at Omdurman Islamic University (1990-1994), the University of San Francisco (2009-2010), Columbia College (2011-), and the University of Calgary (2013-). Dr. Adam is an activist who works toward the establishment and wellbeing of African and Sudanese community organizations in Canada.

  • Living in Limbo with Hope is an important and fascinating journey into the little-known world of the lives of Sudanese refugees in Cairo and, by extension perhaps, millions of other refugees around the world. Using a snowball sampling technique, Dr. Gamal Adam—himself a Darfurian and former refugee-turned, doctorate-earning, social anthropologist—allows readers a peek into the informal discussions, observations, and even legal petitions that would otherwise be lingually, geographically and/or culturally veiled to many. Unique in its ability to share the strategies and tactics of individuals striving to obtain (and maintain) their precious monetary resources, in light of their refugee status, Living in Limbo is an ideal text for both undergraduate and graduate students of political science, anthropology, and other related disciplines. It should similarly be of great value to international and non-state actors interested in assisting refugees, anywhere.

    Teresa A. Booker, PhD

    Dept. of African-American Studies
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
    City University of New York

    Living in Limbo with Hope provides a unique focus on urban refugees’ experiences and emphasizes resilience, agency and hope as central elements of their identities. This book poses a relentless and important set of challenges to many of the dominant narratives that have characterized the fields of refugee studies. For instance, Gamal Adam questions the usefulness of analytical approaches that take the nation state or the national border as their key reference point. He insists that responsible scholarship on these issues must consider the complex experiences of refugees as they traverse a variety of geographical spaces. He further addresses the gendered consequences of refugee situations by examining men’s experiences of disempowerment and its implications for gender relationships of power within refugee households and communities.

    Amani El Jack PhD

    Dept. of Women and Gender Studies
    University of Massachusetts Boston

    Gamal Adam’s interdisciplinary account of Sudanese refugees in Egypt follows the line of work of scholars such as Verdirame and Harrell-Bond in its placement of the refugee experience as the foundation experience, but adds a layer of authenticity in that he himself is a Sudanese refugee. The book both addresses the tensions of a researcher with “no alternative” but to engage in advocacy and action on behalf of the refugee, and frustrations of a Sudanese researcher, at once an insider and an outsider. Adam provides a rich historical context of the Sudanese in Egypt, engages in what Le Houerou calls a “Spanish tavern” of theories and is uniquely skilled in letting go of assumptions about who are the refugees to let the voices of the refugees speak to their vulnerabilities, survival strategies and hopes in the face social injustice, exploitation and abuse inflicted upon them by the government, Egyptians, UNHCR and civil society. The book is vital reading for scholars and practitioners who seek insight into the experiences of urban refugees, but also for social scientists who seek a better understanding of the capacity of advocacy and action research to inform our theoretical understandings of central questions such as the Other in citizenship and immigration studies, affinities in survival strategies, gender complementarity, structural and physical violence and, beyond, to the meanings of hope. Adam’s book is a transformative experience in which the reader becomes witness to the daily experiences of injustice of Living in Limbo with Hope.

    Galya Ruffer, JD, PhD

    Director, International Studies Program

    Director, Center for Forced Migration Studies at the Buffett Center
    Northwestern University