Fragmentation in Palestinian Society in the West Bank - Different Figurations of Palestinian Refugees Inside and Outside the Camps

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:39
Location: Seminarraum Geschichte 1 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Hendrik HINRICHSEN, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Germany
Ahmed ALBABA, Georg-August-University Goettingen, Germany
The Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank have been a center of attention for social research on Palestine and 'the Middle East conflict'.

In the academic discussion, the focus often rests on either the demands and the symbolic significance the camp population attaches to the 'right of return' or on the camps being 'hot spots' of resistance to the Israeli occupation.

However, the relations between the Palestinian refugees in general and more specifically the population of the refugee camps on the one hand and other groupings of the Palestinian society in the West Bank on the other have largely been neglected by social research. Internal relations and power balances between different groupings within the refugee camps, especially besides the political affiliations, have drawn even less attention.
By using the framework of the Established-outsider theory by Norbert Elias (1994), we intend to discuss a) the relations between the refugee camp population and other, more established groupings of the Palestinian society (e.g. the ‘urban middle classes’), and b) the internal fragmentation of the camp population.
In doing so, we particularly focus on the intersection of different ways to (re-)present ‘the Palestinian issue’ in the context of a homogenizing nationalist Palestinian We-discourse and of different historical generations (in the sense of Karl Mannheim) which frame relations between different groupings in the refugee camps.

Our research, which is also part of our PhD-projects, is based on biographical-narrative interviews and participant observations we have conducted in the West Bank since 2011.