Author:Sonia Zafer-Smith (University College London)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores the temporal overlaps between past, present and future inside of bomb shelters on Israel's northern borders with Lebanon and Syria. It considers how family memory and myth intertwine with Israeli state temporality in private shelters, embedded in quotidian space and practice.
Paper long abstract:
Bomb shelters are ubiquitous throughout the Israeli landscape, ranging from public shelters in parks and playgrounds, to private shelters inside of family homes. What people do with these spaces varies inside and outside of conflict, and often leads to their near total incorporation into everyday space. This has been described by Shapiro and Bird-David (2016) as contributing to an Israeli ontological juxtaposition of emergency and routine. Shelters therefore offer places to encounter the slow crystallization of Israeli subjectivities entangled with Israel's occupation of Palestinian land, people and rights, an occupation which Israeli shelters are becoming increasingly necessary to sustain.
This paper, based on fieldwork in an agricultural settlement on Israel's northern borders between 2012-2014, considers how family myth and memory of past wars, anticipated future wars, and present day 'quiet' become knotted inside of private, home bomb shelters. Looking at the temporal dimensions that shelters incorporate into quotidian Israeli space, home shelters might be described as sites where futures are forecasted in relation to the yet unclosed past (Pederson and Nielsen 2013; Nielsen 2014), futures subsequently prepared for and not prepared for inside of shelters. Unpacking the home shelter further, they can be appraised as 'time-reckoning devices' (Nielsen 2014: 167; cf Bear 2014: 3) of familial temporality, interacting with and against the temporality of the Israeli state. This bears critical implications for understanding how the sensing of time shapes political agency, subjectivities, personal security practices, and the seeming absence thereof.
Temporalities of the past: moments, memories, and futures in the making