Performing the Home : Enacting Citizenship and Countering Jerusalem’s Residency Revocation Policy

Abstract

The home is an arena of political contestation. The choice, or lack thereof, of where and how one might inhabit and maintain a home is a political decision, in a political (urban) landscape. This is particularly the case in Jerusalem, where some Palestinian residents are forced into living double lives, in which they craft a carefully manicured script of their lives to present to state authorities, complete with showcase homes and furnishing, aimed at preserving their right to enter and work in their city. Palestinian Jerusalemites are legally considered stateless under Israeli law, as foreigners with a permit to reside in their home city. Israeli state actors increasingly seek to revoke their residency permits, often on the grounds of living outside the city’s boundaries. I explore how Palestinian Jerusalemites perform their home through socio‐material practices, as part of an enactment of citizenship aimed at maintaining limited rights, resources and mobility in the face of urban exclusion. I propose that a focus on how residents curate their home and showcase its interior to state authorities can cast a light on previously unexplored elements of state‐citizen relations, in which residents claim rights through the materiality and social practices of the home.

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