Silvia Pasquetti is lecturer in sociology at Newcastle University and member in the Institute for Advanced Study (School of Social Science) in Princeton. She has published peer-reviewed articles in Theory & Society, Law & Society Review, Ethnic & Racial Studies, International Sociology, and City. She has also published review essays and public sociology essays in British Journal of Sociology, Contexts, and Merip. She is currently finishing a book manuscript tentatively titled Together, Apart: Suspected Lives in Israeli Cities and West Bank Refugee Camps under advance contract with Oxford University Press.
Negotiating Stigma among Ruins: Histories of Displacement and Control from Lydda to West Bank Refugee Camps (and Back)
Bringing together the concepts of ruination and spatial stigmatization, this paper examines how poor Palestinians in Lydda experience the built environment around them and how, in the process, they renegotiate the bifurcated history of displacement and control that connects them to Palestinian refugees. Specifically, I study how they think and feel about the surveilled and criminalized districts where they live within the city’s broader landscape of ruins. While they partially reproduce the spatial stigma imposed on them by attaching meanings of worthlessness to their districts, they also counter this stigma by expressing care for the built environment and a desire to revalorize urban life and reconnect it to Palestinian history. This process of reconnection typically occurs when they engage with ruins in and around the city. I situate this discussion of the economy of meanings attached to Lydda’s built environment within the broader circulation of spatial perceptions and feelings between poor Palestinians who were born in Lydda and those from West Bank refugee camps.