Multilocality and the Politics of Space in Protracted Exile

The Case of a Palestinian Refugee Camp in the West Bank

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Dorota Woroniecka-Krzyzanowska German Historical Institute of Warsaw, Poland

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This article employs the concept of multilocality to analyze the politics of space under the condition of protracted encampment. Rather than adopting a common synchronic approach to how refugees relate to space, the theoretical lens of multilocality grasps the diachronic dimension of protracted camps understood as places that encompass multiple attachments across time and space: the remembered and imagined places of origin, sites of residence in exile, and future geographies of hope or anticipation. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in al-Am'ari, a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank, I analyze multilocality as a political practice whereby local residents and organizations nurture the refugee identity of their communities, resist the permanence of protracted exile, and manifest the necessity for political change.

Contributor Notes

Dorota Woroniecka-Krzyzanowska works in the research project “Relations in the Ideoscape: Middle Eastern Students in the Eastern Block (1952-1991),” funded by the Max Weber Stiftung, on behalf of the German Historical Institute of Warsaw. She received her PhD in social sciences from the Polish Academy of Sciences and a BA in Arabic linguistics and culture from the University of Warsaw. Her doctoral dissertation discussed the socio-spatial development of protracted refugee camps based on ethnographic case study of a West Bank refugee camp. She is interested in forced migration, urban anthropology, and knowledge relations, with a geographical focus on Palestine and Iraq. Email:

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Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies