National Identity Without Citizenship?
|Professors Muhammad Ali Khalidi and Diane
The Institute for Palestine Studies and the Institut Français
du Proche-Orient held its final workshop under the context of Palestinian
identities and territories, which took place on December 14 in AUB's West
Hall and was organized into a series of lectures.
The workshop was intended to examine the relationship between Palestinian
citizenship and national identity. The debate about whether citizenship
comes before nationalism or vice versa appears to be a complex issue concerning
the Palestinians. Typically, social scientists contend that national identity
emerges after the existence of citizenship. However, as the workshop highlighted,
this cannot apply to Palestinians insofar as they do not share a common
citizenship. This unusual observation has led many researchers to study
the dynamic between Palestinian citizenship and identity.
The workshop consisted of a conglomeration of papers by anthropologists,
sociologists, historians, and researchers in cultural and Middle Eastern
studies. Their analysis shed light on the different aspects of the Palestinian
issue. For example, one paper proposed the formation of a "refracted
citizenship," which is a citizenship developed out of past and future
notions of a Palestinian state and was born out of issues of sovereignty
in Gaza after 1948.
Another paper critiqued the existence of closed Palestinian refugee camps
in Lebanon as a means for "disciplinary power, control, and surveillance,
and for deploying the state of exception." According to Diane Riskedahl's
opening remarks, investigating the complexity between Palestinian identity
and citizenship could be understood as part of the analysis of the broader
issue, "the future of Palestine."