Occupied Lives : Maintaining Integrity in a Palestinian Refugee Camp in the West Bank

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Media coverage of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict does not necessarily enhance one’s knowledge or understanding of the Palestinians; on the contrary they are often reduced to either victims or perpetrators. Similarly, while many academic studies devote considerable effort to analyzing the political situation in the occupied territories, there have been few sophisticated case studies of Palestinian refugees living under Israeli rule. An ethnographic study of Palestinian refugees in Dheisheh refugee camp, Occupied Lives looks closely at the attempts of the camp inhabitants to survive and bounce back from the profound effects of political violence and Israeli military occupation. Based on the author’s extensive fieldwork conducted inside the camp, this study examines the daily efforts of camp inhabitants to secure survival and meaning during the period of the al-Aqsa Intifada. It argues that the political developments and experiences of extensive violence at the time, which left most refugees outside of direct activism, caused many camp inhabitants to disengage from traditional forms of politics. Instead, they became involved in alternative practices aimed at maintaining their sense of social worth and integrity, by focusing on processes to establish a ‘normal’ order, social continuity, and morality. Nina Gren explores these processes and the ambiguities and dilemmas that necessarily arose from them and the ways in which the political and the existential are often intertwined in Dheisheh.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAmerican University in Cairo Press
Number of pages225
ISBN (Print)9789774166952
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
  • Social Anthropology

Free keywords

  • Palestinians
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Occupied territories
  • Refugees
  • Camps
  • Ethnographic study
  • Social anthropology
  • Political violence
  • Occupation


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