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'Powers of Illegality': House Demolitions and Resistance in East Jerusalem

Irus Braverman

SUNY Buffalo Law School

Law and Social Inquiry, Vol. 32, No. 2, 2007
Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009-05

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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 73

Keywords: Law and Geography, Law and Urban Planning, illegality, house demolitions, East Jerusalem, Israel/Palestine, everyday resistance, spatial protest

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Date posted: January 22, 2009 ; Last revised: January 24, 2009

Suggested Citation

Braverman, Irus, 'Powers of Illegality': House Demolitions and Resistance in East Jerusalem. Law and Social Inquiry, Vol. 32, No. 2, 2007; Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009-05. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1330916

Contact Information

Irus Braverman (Contact Author)
SUNY Buffalo Law School ( email )
625 O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
United States
716-645-3030 (Phone)
716-645-2064 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~irusb/
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