Early marriage in perspective: Practicing an ethics of dialogue with Syrian refugees in Jordan

An Van Raemdonck*, Marina de Regt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article discusses rationales for development and humanitarian intervention through the lenses of poststructuralist policy analysis and a postcolonial politics of the womb. It aims to show a variety of perspectives on early marriage and the limitations of dominant policy responses. The article argues that humanitarian logics easily blend with developmentalist models, especially in conditions of protracted displacement. The response to the rise of early marriage among Syrians in Jordan mainly consists of educational activities such as awareness raising that are based on imparting knowledge. The article suggests that responses based on an ethics of dialogue may be more adequate to meet refugees’ needs and, second, may help to shift the balance from developmentalist reproductive governance towards realizing the humanitarian goal of identifying and addressing women refugees’ needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-327
Number of pages16
JournalProgress in Development Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The project was funded by the SRHR research programme of NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development, the Netherlands.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 SAGE Publications.


  • Early marriage
  • ethics
  • humanitarianism
  • Jordan
  • reproductive governance
  • Syrian refugees


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