Spatial Collisions and Discordant Temporalities: Everyday Life between Camp and Checkpoint


How do we make sense of the colonial subject that is neither in revolt nor in open crisis? How do people reproduce their lives, fashion routines, etch out some meaning when the political is evacuated, when time is on hold? These questions loom over a contemporary disjuncture in Palestine, marked in part by the splintering and opening up of the field of subjective bonds, attachments and associations to new modalities of production, less circumscribed by previous normative parameters and engendering a host of complexities and ambivalences in politico‐social relationalities. Yet most scholarship on Palestine remains caught up in reductive binaries of violence versus resistance and heavily reliant on rigid and aggregated categories, the bulk of it unable to capture entire assemblages of action, subjective dissonance, productive ambiguities and contingent vitalities that inflect so much of contemporary quotidian life. The refugee in particular has emerged as a destabilizing figure, capable of subversively using the spatio‐temporality of the camp as the very resource through which to disturb ascribed categorizations. Reading the paradoxical multiplicity of actions that refugees — women, children and the elderly — perform in the space between Qalandia camp and its checkpoint provides an insight into some of what defines contemporary refugee subjectivities — flexibility, a readiness to take risks, an ability to maneuver through different temporal orders and instrumentalize the spatial fragmentation. These subjects, traversing and negotiating liminality in everyday life, point to lived and bodied affirmations of presence and visibility that cannot be understood through frameworks of recognition and rights.