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Powers of Illegality: House Demolitions and Resistance in East Jerusalem

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This article examines how techniques of illegality based in planning laws and policy are utilized to dominate the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem. Although the demolition of homes is the most spectacular spatial mechanism of illegality exercised by Israel in East Jerusalem, my focus in the first part of the article is on more mundane techniques of illegality, such as mapping, filing, and arbitrariness. The second part of the article introduces the notion of resistance and explores the illegal building carried out by East Jerusalemite Palestinians as an act of spatial protest. In examining tactics of everyday resistance, I suggest that the study of illegality in the East Jerusalem context allows a nuanced understanding of the relations between bureaucrats and subjects, thereby offering a deeper understanding of the nature of power itself.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, and an Associate of the Humanities Center at Harvard University

Publication date: 01 June 2007

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