Between discrimination and stabilization: The exceptional governmentalities of East Jerusalem

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This paper discusses Israeli rule in East Jerusalem through the lens of urban colonial governmentality, with a focus on the control and management of urban systems, institutions and services. Although Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem appeared stable, at least up until the early years of the new millennium, Israel never fully controlled Palestinian urban institutions and services in the city; to a great extent, large parts of these institutions and services continued operating after annexation under the auspices of Jordan or the Palestinian National Authority, in adversarial autonomy to Israeli rule. In this paper I analyze these ambiguities of rule as forms of governmental exceptions to the State’s administrative and managerial norms; exceptions which constitute an essential component of Israel’s control over East Jerusalem. I will argue that while political and urban theory ascribe exception from law and administrative normative order to a state’s offensive and discriminatory policies towards marginalized individuals and groups, in East Jerusalem we find a different type of governmental exception. This is manifested in the State turning a blind eye to adversarial governmental arrangements in order to achieve the normalization and stabilization of rule. By analyzing patterns of governmental exceptions in East Jerusalem since 1967, the paper discusses the ways urban institutions and services in contested cities emerge as an arena of colliding flows of practices and rationales of governmentalities and counter-governmentalities, shaped by rival strategies of dominance and control over the regulation of urban everyday life and identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-440
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 May 2016

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  • East Jerusalem
  • colonial governmentality
  • colonial urbanism
  • exception


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