From Stone to Cement: Notes towards an ethnography of building materials in Palestinian refugee camps / 2019
This dissertation offers a reading of Palestinian refugee camps that aims to move beyond both the juridico-political model and the established academic understanding of these spaces through the rigid structure versus agency binary. It does so by exploring the ambivalent spaces that exist between subjects and objects in the everyday context of the camps, together with the tensions and paradoxes produced by these encounters; arguing that the line that theoretically separates them is much more blurred than most of academics works sustain.

By conceiving them as material interactional assemblages —and re-assemblages— of multiple elements that interweave in the socio-material loom, this piece of writing undertakes an ethnography of the building materials in Palestinian refugee camps in order to explore how these transformations have had different affects within their historical assemblages.

Therefore, the building materials are the principal ethnographic subjects here, which trails are traced and their histories narrated; from stone up to cement, throughout canvas and zinc. These, I argue, have not played a merely representational role but have been able to both register and participate from the complex socio-political transformations in the camps.

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