Paper long abstract:
Considering that public space is being made in the conflicts that take place in public, I explore a housing struggle on behalf of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, who are protected tenants in public properties undergoing privatization in an impoverished part of the city impacted by gentrification. I explicate how the interaction among legal, planning and real estate orders, resident coping strategies and their mode of hierarchical incorporation into current state framework were implicated in the making of the housing problem. Then I examine the public space that emerges from the contestation conducted with Arab and Jewish mixed groups and NGO networks. Different conceptualisations and uses of urban space limit how the housing problem may become public (if at all) just as strategies and techniques of public mobilization seek to re-formulate the problem, have the collective it affects recognized and its problem addressed with public policy and funds. Fragmented by multiple conflicts, public domains are temporarily marked with the claims made visible/audible and different people being present, yet power differentials and ongoing fragmentation pose a challenge for any durable change in the rules of access to housing in the neighbourhood, and therefore the composition of residents in the future.
Out in public: towards an anthropology of public socialities in urban space