The Agnotology of Eviction in South Lebanon's Palestinian Gatherings: How Institutional Ambiguity and Deliberate Ignorance Shape Sensitive Spaces
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SourceAntipode, 48, 5, (2016), pp. 1400-1419
17 juli 2016
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectNON-RU research; Onderzoek niet-RU
A significant part of Lebanon's Palestinian refugees live in unofficial camps, so-called “gatherings”, where they reside on Lebanese land. Many of these gatherings are now threatened with eviction. By means of two qualitative case studies this article explores responses to such eviction threats. Residents, it turns out, engage in deliberate disinformation and stalling tactics and invoke both a professed and real ignorance about their situation. In contrast to dominant discourses that project Palestinian refugees as illicit and sovereignty undermining, I explain these tactics as a reaction to, and duplication of, a “politics of uncertainty” implemented by Lebanese authorities. Drawing on agnotology theory, and reconsidering the gatherings as sensitive spaces subjected to aleatory governance, I propose that residents’ responses to the looming evictions are a manifestation of the deliberate institutional ambiguity that Lebanese authorities impose on the gatherings. As such, the article contributes to understanding the spatial dimensions of strategically imposed ignorance.
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