Refugees & Urban Politics: Home-making, Subjectivity and Practice in Jabal Al Natheef Palestinian Refugee Settlement, Jordan

Authors: Heba Alnajada*,
Topics: Migration, Middle East, Immigration/Transnationalism
Keywords: exile, peripheral urbanization, informality, subjectivity
Session Type: Paper
Scheduler ID: FRI-044-5:20 p.m.
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Poydras, Sheraton, 3rd Floor

Since the 1948 exodus, Palestinian exiles crossed borders to Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. They found shelter in refugee camps set up by international humanitarian aid or began setting up their own tents on squatted lands. Since then, different actors have been working within informal neighborhoods, to include humanitarian organizations, local and international NGOs, and practitioners. This paper sets from an attempt to read informal neighborhoods through the lenses of refugee-ness (following Malkki, 1995) and peripheral urbanization . Illustrated by a particular historic case of Palestinian refugees in Amman, Jordan - Jabal Al Natheef -. I will explore how, on the one hand, the complex terrain of refugeeness are manifested and negotiated by ordinary Palestinians in their every day lives. And how on the other hand, NGO's and architects negotiate their everyday work. Drawing on fieldwork between 2012 and 2016 in Jabal Al Natheef, this presentation attempts to spatialize Jabal Al Natheef in relation to the logics o between refugees, state, and different actors. It shows the complex political struggle where informality becomes a tool for negotiating value and space. And how within these processes unique subjectivities emerge. In conclusion and in line with the evidence for agency, in the final part, I reflect on my own work as an architect in Jabal Al Natheef, and how refugee-ness and urbanization in the global south presents us new ways to study how people produce and negotiate urban space in new host countries.

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