Date of Graduation

Winter 12-15-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Jeffrey Paller


Protracted Refugee Situations (PRS) persist despite the founding intentions of the international refugee regime. Explanations behind PRS typically focus on international law, human rights, and security concerns, while the conventional media narrative presents an oversimplification that erases complex contextual nuances. Using the case of the Dadaab refugee camp, I explore (1) historical colonial legacies of social control and domination in Kenya, and (2) Dadaab as an informal economic power center, as two ‘hidden ties’ that contribute to Dadaab’s persistence. By identifying and exploring hidden ties that contribute to PRS, policy-makers and power brokers gain a deeper understanding of the realities of the hidden systems of relevant interests and power relations present in PRS contexts. This nuanced and complete understanding is essential for any negotiations of practical, feasible resolutions to PRS.