Post-Development in Permanently Temporary Urban Spaces: Networks of Care and Livelihoods in Camp Assemblages of Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
Thursday 7 April, h.11-13, CLE, Room B2
Introduces: Paola Minoia, Unito
Speaker: Yafa El Masri, Università di Padova
Discussants: Sallie Yea, La Trobe
University and Rosita Di Peri, UniTo
Research has been increasingly and critically deviating from the study of protracted refugees as victims stuck in limbo, and has been rather addressing them as campzens and local overeigns while addressing their spaces of refuge as neighbourhoods and urban entanglements. My work examines protracted refugees in the pluriverse, and how their relationalities guide them in shaping their camp space and reclaiming their place in the city. I specifically observe permanently temporary Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon. I look at the assemblages between the compressed camp space and the collective human agency as a cosmology by which refugees understand their place in this world and negotiate everyday spaces for livelihood. I use Donna Haraway’s feminist concept of situated knowledge, to reflect on my own positioned rationality of growing up as a stateless Palestinian refugee in Bourj Albarajenah refugee camp. I find that we negotiate the one squared kilometre camp space by expanding vertically, while we negotiate home by embodying ancestral memories of Palestine into the narrow hallways. We materialize our spatial negotiations through community-based dynamics such as sisterhoods and crowdfunding, which allow us to construct commons, decolonize knowledge of Palestine, redistribute resources and even rescue other refugees of the city during the pandemic. This study on assemblages and solidarities in refugee communities can provide us with a few lessons on grassroots cooperation by which we can advance post-development literature, but also by which we can better understand the gender inequalities and capacity limitations of such mechanisms.