The production of autonomous spaces under permanent instability: the case of Palestinian sport clubs
(German Historical Institute - Warsaw)
Paper short abstract:
This paper examines the production of autonomous spaces under the condition of permanent instability focusing on the case of sport clubs from rural, urban and camp communities in the West Bank, Palestine.
Paper long abstract:
This paper examines the production of autonomous spaces under the condition of permanent instability. It focuses on the case of sport clubs from rural, urban and camp communities in the West Bank, Palestine. For decades preceding the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in 1994, sport clubs were among the very few community organizations in which Palestinians living in the West Bank could openly and legally participate. Other then providing sport, cultural and social activities to local populations, many developed into spaces for community organizing, political activism and self-governance. Establishment of the PNA brought (relatively) greater freedom of association and triggered significant transformations in the Palestinian civil society. The majority of research on these transformations discuses the professionalization of the Palestinian civil sector, its changing role in resistance against the ongoing Israeli occupation and the impact of donor politics, with a particular focus on the so-called professional NGOs. Less is known about the dynamics under way in more traditional forms of associational life in Palestine, such as charitable associations or sport clubs. This paper approaches the long-standing sport clubs as spaces of autonomy, where local communities develop mechanisms to collectively respond to permanent instability induced by the ongoing Israeli occupation and settlement expansion, as well as the resulting deficiencies of the Palestinian state formation process. It argues that the analysis of the production of such spaces, and the politics of autonomy performed in them, is crucial to understand the means of steadfastness, or staying put, on the local level.
Shifting populations, permanent instability, suspended stay: contemporary mobilities in Palestine and Israel