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Wired: The Materiality of Power in Palestine-Israël

Unité : REPI Recherche et Études en Politique Internationale | ULB704

Description :

Materiality is back. After the turn to discourse in the late twentieth century, there is a new fascination with the material stuff
of life. Matter matters after all in the study of contemporary socio-political life. As part of this renewed emphasis upon
materiality, infrastructures are making a conspicuous appearance and so is electricity –an infrastructure par excellence that defines
the modern condition. Situated at the intersection of urban studies, political economy, settler colonialism and Middle East
studies, this project sets out to investigate this material surge through an in-depth study of the ways electrification comes to matter
socially, politically, economically and spatially in Palestine/Israel. The project will study in archival and ethnographic detail
practices, discourses and actors that transform electricity into nodes of governance and flows of power and thereby endow
infrastructures with politically potent lives that vitalize, inform and shape processes of colonialism, modernity, statecraft and
development in this particular context. In doing so, the project seeks to develop a conceptualization of electricity that unsettles
existing boundaries between technology and society, the material and the symbolic and the human and non-human; address the actual
theoretical and empirical lacunae in social science research on electricity and electrification in colonial contexts; and produce an
innovative history of the region. The approach advanced in this project underscores, on the one hand, the specific historical and
political significance of electricity in maintaining and challenging social orders. And, on the other, it provides an alternative to
accounts of Palestine-Israel largely defined by geopolitics and violence, offering instead a lens that allows for careful
consideration of what might be learned from a reading of the seemingly mundane ‘things’ that still today connect (albeit selectively)
spaces and populations otherwise increasingly divided.
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Liste des bailleurs :

  • F.R.S.-FNRS et Fonds associés (hors FRIA)