Kristina Tschunkert

Thesis title

Cash a magnet for trouble? Exploring social and economic impacts of cash assistance on host-refugee relations (working title).


This research is concerned with everyday economic and social relations between host and refugee communities. Despite the increasing number of humanitarian emergencies, a lack of empirical analysis persists.

Taking humanitarian cash-based assistance as a case study and exploring its perceived impact on everyday economies from the perspective of Syrian and Lebanese small shop owners in a town in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, this thesis aims to provide a better understanding of the dynamic relationship between host and refugee communities. These relations are explored in connection with external forces that shape and are shaped by this relational context and the complex realities of day-to-day existence in a country divided along sectarian and class lines and intricate webs of interests.

To analyse the phenomenon, an analytical framework was developed that is constituted by indicators that fall along a continuum from competition to cooperation: perceptions of injustice and inequality of aid, social values of cash-based assistance and the shift from empathy to tolerance and interdependence.

Using this framework, the thesis reveals multiple ways in which cash assistance influences relationships between and within refugee and host communities. It shows the importance of looking beyond monies such as cash assistance injected into a local economy merely as infinitely fungible means of economic exchange. Instead, regarding them as vital factors that shape and are shaped by the socio-economic and political relational context that they are embedded in can help formulate a better understanding of how everyday peace economies can be nurtured in these contexts of protracted conflict.


Research interests

Socio-economic impacts of humanitarian aid; humanitarian cash-based assistance; everyday economics; refugee studied; political economy of peace and conflict.

Teaching experience

I am interested in teaching classes related to Peace and Conflict Studies. Courses I have taught so far include:

  • BSc Aid in Insecure Environments (University of Manchester – HCRI)
  • PGCert Community Approaches to Health (University of Manchester – HCRI)
  • PGDip Disaster and Crisis Management (University of Manchester – HCRI)

Previous education

  • Master of Arts in International Social Development, School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK