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Acts of Spatial Violation: Constructing the Political Inside the Palestinian Refugee Camp

Maqusi, Samar; (2018) Acts of Spatial Violation: Constructing the Political Inside the Palestinian Refugee Camp. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Palestinian refugee camps as sites of exceptional political practice has been excessively established in scholarly work (Agamben, Agier, Khalili, Hanafi). What is missing is a true architectural mapping in the field to be able to spatially understand how this space operates the political exception it resides within. My PhD research directly tackles the politics of architecture and spatial practices –exercised by both the refugees and their host governments-- inside two specific Palestinian refugee camps, one each in Jordan and Lebanon. Ambitious fieldwork and critical mapping of the spatial chronology in each camp has been conducted throughout the PhD process. The fieldwork also included spatial interventions which directly addressed what shaped the Palestinian camp beginning from the relief-scale –-a defined 100m2 rectangle, being the UN’s official standard for individual housing plots within the camps—, tracing its transformation over 69 years of protracted asylum into a scale which transgresses the 100m2 plot boundary, stripping the camp from its relief scale and re-appropriating it as a truly Palestinian one. It is in this, beyond the 100m2, where I claim the political resides in the camp as form, scale, and practice, which is termed in Arabic as ta’addi (encroach, exceed, violate), and which I reinterpret here as spatial violation. Drawing on from my working experience for UNWRA, and from now being a PhD by Design student engaged in proposing designs for these camps, my thesis aims to unravel the impact of host-government policies on the physical form of these camps, examining in particular the issues of control and vulnerability. Furthermore, I will be proposing an alternative method for analysing these Palestinian camp-spaces, as well as suggesting new tools for designing and creating the necessary spatial interventions that can enhance the self-determination of refugees and the potential of their camp-spaces to offer resistance.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Acts of Spatial Violation: Constructing the Political Inside the Palestinian Refugee Camp
Event: UCL
Language: English
Additional information: Third party copyright material has been removed from the ethesis. Images identifying individuals have been redacted or partially redacted to protect their identity.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10050501
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