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Moving on up : new geographies of apartment dwelling in Ramallah, Palestine.

Harker, C. (2011) 'Moving on up : new geographies of apartment dwelling in Ramallah, Palestine.', Bulletin of the Council for British research in the Levant., 6 (1). pp. 50-51.


This pilot study formed the first part of a more extensive investigation into how everyday life practices are shaping the recent growth of the urban conurbation Ramallah - Al Bireh - Beitounia (hereafter Ramallah), and how these practices are entangled with broader political and economic processes. The growth of Ramallah can be traced historically back to the 19th century and then more recently to the influx of Palestinian refugees after 1948. However, this project takes as its starting point the more recent and rapid increase in the city’s population during the last two decades. While the Oslo Accords established Ramallah as the political centre of the Palestinian Authority in the mid 1990s (and contributed to the movement of Palestinian political life away from Jerusalem), the intensification of the Israeli Occupation after 2000 saw Ramallah emerge as the undisputed economic centre of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Factors responsible for this change include the building of the Occupation Wall and legislation preventing Palestinians from working in Israel, the spatial fragmentation of the West Bank through the imposition of checkpoints, closures and continued land theft by the Israeli regime, and the concentration of foreign aid in Ramallah-based non-governmental organisations and Palestinian Authority institutions. This project takes these factors as an important context for understanding the lives of migrants currently living in Ramallah. However, this research begins from the premise that it is also important to understand how everyday life practices are shaping the growth of the city, and interacting with these broader contextual factors. The specific focus of this pilot research project was to examine the effects of migration to Ramallah on social relations with family and neighbours. The research was based in the neighbourhood of Umm Shariyat, a residential area of mainly apartment buildings, where a large number of migrants from other Palestinian cities in the West Bank and Jerusalem have recently settled, (many since 2003). The researcher lived in a newly constructed apartment building and conducted participant observation and interviews for two months in July and August 2010. Due to the limited time spent in the field and the gender of the researcher, most of the people formally interviewed were men between the ages of 24 and 50. While the results of this pilot study are limited to this gender and neighbourhood profile, they do indicate areas where further research is required.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Part of the research report: The origins, development and practice of economic and social strategies in the Middle East from earliest times to the modern day.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Record Created:19 Apr 2012 15:05
Last Modified:22 May 2012 12:51

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