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Water struggles as struggles for recognition: the lived geographies of farming communities in Sahl al-Battuf and the occupied Golan Heights

Dajani, Muna Daoud (2018) Water struggles as struggles for recognition: the lived geographies of farming communities in Sahl al-Battuf and the occupied Golan Heights. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004202


This thesis is concerned with the political subjectivity of farming in settler colonial contexts. Guided by theoretical concepts of political ecology, settler colonialism and lived geographies, this thesis examines two farming communities which have been central to the realisation of Israeli settler colonial hydro-imaginaries and realities. It employs a historical approach to explain the realities facing these communities today, in their struggle over water to maintain their farming livelihood and hence how, through water, claims of recognition are shaped and developed. Employing mixed qualitative methods of ethnography, archival research, interviews and participant observation, this thesis posits that farming practices, including demands for water and infrastructure, acquire political subjectivity in both communities, transcending farming into an act of resistance, sumud (steadfastness) and rootedness. Under conditions of settler colonial rule, communities are faced with a dialectical presence-absence of the state in their lives. The settler colonial water and land policies materialised realities of unequal geographies and waterscapes, othering the communities concerned through policies of difference and enactment of misrecognition through uprooting land-based belonging and resource rights. Through analysis of their acts of protest through the lens of ‘presence-absence’, farmers demand for water and infrastructure have re-configured from being acts of resistance to a scaled-up articulation for their demands for recognition, inclusion and development. Examining the role of sumud as a form of resistance in livelihood practices highlights how access to, and control over, flows of water by indigenous Arab communities acquire material and symbolic weight as an articulation of rootedness and protest the Israeli hydraulic mission of centralised water control and exclusion. Hence, their realities are shaped by complex conditions of settler colonial rule, where farming acquires political subjectivity as it enacts sumud in their everyday practices.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 Muna Daoud Dajani
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Mason, Michael

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