International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 305

Full Length Research Paper

Urban ecology concept and its implication for studying social integration: Case study of the Palestinian refugees

Akram M. Ijla
  • Akram M. Ijla
  • Uppsala University- Gotland Campus, Sweden.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 16 March 2012
  •  Accepted: 19 January 2015
  •  Published: 31 January 2015


This article aims to analyze the phenomena of urban segregation and social integration in the Palestinian refugee camps. The arguments are based on a theoretical basis as well as findings from the author’s fieldwork taken where he used to live in the Gaza refugee camp. The main argument of this paper claims that residential segregation and the creation of informal settlements in the city boundaries are exclusively associated with cultural, urban poverty, socio-political and historical aspects that reflect on the urban fabric of the camps. The author’s proposes that the roots of the phenomena of urban segregation and integration are an outcome of the constructed social strata, which can be theorized within two interrelated socio-political new situation of the refugees, and the historical, identity aspects; one defines them as refugees who should preserve their right and identity to go back home where the urban camp and social structure and fabric reflected this situation, and the other identifies the Israeli regime, social obstacles and life conditions in the received society as the negative factors that prevented the refugees to have the opportunity of assimilation. Additionally, the paper suggests that the ‘traditional approach’ in urban geography, based on Park’s premise, as having the basic hypothesis that the greater the degree of difference between spatial distribution of groups within the urban context, the greater their social distance from the other. This approach, in essence, views the integration process of the Palestinian refugees and the resettlement goals that the refugees struggled to achieve it temporarily to have the same opportunities as assimilated citizens in the West Bank and Gaza. The ecological approach of the Chicago School will be use to study the integration and assimilation phenomena.

Key words: Chicago School of Sociology, Palestinian refugees camps, Palestinian refugees, social distance, succession, zone of transition.