in: Journal of Refugee Studies 25 (2), 221–238
This article seeks to contribute towards a conceptual understanding of refugee camp administration in Kenya. Focusing on Kenya's policy of encampment epitomized by Kakuma and Dadaab Refugee Camps, the article argues that encampment is a form of social technology whose rationale is containment of refugees in line with Kenya's non-integration refugee policy. The term ‘social technology’ is increasingly understood in the contemporary ‘cyber’ age in terms of communication technology and how it shapes human interaction and relationships in ways not previously envisaged. In this article, the concept is deployed to capture strategies of refugee management and containment through mechanisms that are overt and physical as well as covert, ideological and psychological. However, social technology is not transcendental and its effectiveness is mediated by refugee agency. The very structure of and rationale for encampment prompt resistance by which techniques of control become social not only in terms of how they contain refugees but also in terms of how refugee actions counteract them.