Probing the Terrain: Architectures of Control and Uncertainty in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

in Architecture and Control
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Whether manifest in built structures or invisible infrastructures, architectures of control in the occupied Palestinian West Bank are structurally defined by endemic uncertainty. Shifting lines and frontiers are recorded on the terrain, creating elastic zones of uncertainty necessitating navigational agility in everyday conduct. The chapter presents the case of the covert building of a chicken farm and house-to-become, where Palestinian landowner HH speculates in the territorial uncertainty and potential flexibility of the line dividing Area B from Area C, crossing his plot. HH’s disguised building efforts illustrates how different architectures of control come together to inform a practice of navigating unstable conditions by deploying the mental attitude of mētis, akin to but not identical with Michel de Certeau’s notion of tactics. By giving an account of how flexibility adheres to the territory through its lines and laws, and how the very structure of the occupation has changed over the years, I seek to make visible the ways in which architectures of uncertainty compensate for the fleeting terrain that HH is probing.

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