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Accepted Papers:

Ramallah, Ramallahwis and their borders  


Mariangela Gasparotto (EHESS)

Paper Short Abstract:

The Israeli colonization over the Palestinian territories have shaped imaginaries and the way people understand borders. The city of Ramallah is therefore moulded by rumours.

Paper long abstract:

Ramallah, the Palestinian ersatz of capital located at 16 kilometres from Jerusalem, is not a megalopolis and it counts between 125.000 and 200.000 inhabitants. Nevertheless, numerous rumours and imaginaries shape the city as well as inhabitants' practices. At the same time, original inhabitants' discourses show a distance, a dangerousness of people and places "outside" the limits of the city centre (these imaginaries are not only correlated to the Israeli State, but they include also refugee camps, city's suburbs or other Palestinian cities). Such imaginaries produce precise movements which reveal some profound fractures among its Palestinian inhabitants.

My intervention will be based on an ethnographic fieldwork lead between 2012 and 2019 on youths living in Ramallah. It will explore the existence of different kinds of borders: institutional frontiers (refugee camps, Israeli settlements and wall, A-B-C administrative zone) and imaginary ones. In particular, it will be centred on the way the supposed character of people living in some precise areas influence mobilities of youths. Looking on their daily trajectories and internal borders between city's territorialities, my paper will deal with minorities, and internal and institutional hierarchies.

How do people perceive different territorialities of the city? How do they traverse them? How do perceptions contribute to the making of Ramallah and to inhabitants' daily geographies of the city?

panel U04
Urban borderlands at the crossroads of anthropology and geography: spatiality, perceptions and social reproduction in a multiscalar perspective