Dr. Ilana Feldman

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GWIPP Research: Ilana Feldman

This page features research funded through GWIPP and performed by Ilana Feldman.

Title: Life Lived In Relief: Palestinian Experiences with Humanitarianism Since 1948

Researcher(s): Ilana Feldman, Elena Lukic, Fraus Masri

Status: Current

Category: International and Comparative Policy

Summary: This proposal is for archival and ethnographic research on Palestinian experiences with humanitarianism in the years since 1948. Departing from a recent emphasis in the literature on humanitarianism on its de-politicizing effects and the way it reduces refugees to a focus on mere survival, this project proposes that life in humanitarianism is not life outside of politics and that relief practices have been crucial to the development of Palestinian political identity in exile. A key goal of the research proposed here is to understand more fully what is the nature of politics in life lived in relief. How, that is, is politics expressed in the realm of the neutral actor and the humanitarian experience? To explore the production and contestation of social and political values in the humanitarian process, the research will collect data to answer three research questions: (1) How does politics emerge in the context of a struggle for physical survival? (2) What are the noninstitutionalized means through which people express political idea and make political claims? (3) How is "community" produced across a diffuse humanitarian terrain and what form does it take?