Victor Nygren
Victor Nygren

Telephone: +46 (0)8 16 26 90
Room: B662

In my PhD project I want to build on previous fieldwork I have conducted on the lived experiences of the ongoing conflicts over space in Hebron, Palestine, to further explore the multitude of space- and place-making practices that are so intimately linked with the politics of occupation in the area. To do so I will use recent studies on space and political subjectivity to comment on the social production of place(s) in a highly contested spatial context. By doing so I aim to contribute to research on space and place, conflict, violence, migration and subjectivity.

I am interested in how political subjectivities and perceived social and material opportunities play into people’s sense of belonging, and how this might figure in their commitment to and (re)production of Palestinian places and spaces in everyday life across Palestinian communities in the West Bank and beyond.

To address these questions I will use theoretical insights from the anthropology of political subjectivity and the anthropology of space and place so that I will be able to explore how the individual reflexivity, reflections, affect, agency, and anxiety that makes us acting subjects is related to the politics of space in the day-to-day lives of people across the West Bank.

Relating theories of space with others on subjectivity I am less interested in architecture, discourse, and post-structuralist thought as I turn to the modes of perception, cognition, reflection, affect, anxieties, thought, desire, and fear that animates acting subjects. These modes are in turn shaped by cultural, social, material and spatial processes, at once individually psychological and collectively cultural (Biehl & Good & Kleinman (ed.) 2007, Ortner 2005, 2006, Rahimi 2015, Žižek 2008, 2014). As subjectivity itself is political and embedded in socially constructed systems of power and meaning, my interest will be to look at close linkages between subject and power as I agree with Ortner (2005:46) that “a critical reading of the contemporary world involves understanding not just its new political, economic, and social formations, but its new culture, a culture […] in terms of the kinds of subjectivities it will tend to produce.” My twist here would be to look at contemporary political, economic, and social formations through the lens of political space, as a way to demarcate my study and contribute with new research. An acknowledged complexity of Palestinian social and political expressions and the inductive and open ended identification of political subjectivity and space can shine new light on homemaking, belonging, spatial segregation, migration, displacement, and the multitude of power and its expressions in the Palestinian context. This opens up a space to ask bigger questions, such as: what are the most valued or meaningful social opportunities and relationships for one’s self in Palestinian society? How does that relate to one’s place in the world?