The Regulation of Palestinian Everyday Life


A research project jointly hosted with the LSE Middle East Centre via the 'LSE Academic Collaboration with Arab Universities Programme' which is supported by the Emirates Foundation. The Regulation of Palestinian Everyday Life is a joint research project in collaboration with Birzeit University.

The last two decades have seen the formation of Palestinian state structures and the Palestinian (proto-) citizenry has witnessed a transformation in the modes of everyday life regulation and management. The transition from a situation of direct occupation to 'state building' under indirect occupation subjected Palestinian society to a compounded set of regulatory systems that are transforming and re-defining the meaning of Palestinian lives. The dual authority, under which Palestinians live, the Palestinian Authority and Israel, has generated multiple legal systems (Palestinian and Israeli civil, religious and military legal systems) that manage different but often intersecting aspects of Palestinians' lives.

The focus on everyday life has received relatively little attention in academic literature and presents an original area of investigation that is strengthened by its attention to the multiple regulatory layers – local, regional, international – that impinge upon and shape the lives of Palestinians living under occupation. Most significantly, the ways in which Palestinians from different groups and geographical areas negotiate these multi-layered (often contested, sometimes instrumentally used) technologies of normative governance, remain seriously under-examined and inadequately understood in scholarly literature.

This research seeks to examine the way Palestinians are influenced and transformed by these complex regulatory and normative systems, and the ways in which Palestinians in their everyday life perceive, negotiate, manipulate, adapt and resist such frameworks. The research empirically explores the forms of plural subjectivity which replicate themselves through engagement with different norms, institutions, and actors in a non-sovereign state-like apparatus, within a context of Israeli political and economic domination and the rise of neoliberal modes of governance.  

Key research questions

How do regulatory frameworks and normative technologies shape the lives of, enable and constrain Palestinians, at particular sites of encounter? 

How are these multi-layered regulatory frameworks perceived by Palestinians, and what are the discoures developed and deployed by them to engage, negotiate and contest these frameworks?

How do neoliberal modes of governance shape and influence the way these regulatory frameworks operate, the modes of subjectivity they assume and methods of encounter they establish?

Research Team

Professor Chetan Bhatt is Director of LSE Human Rights and Professor of Sociology at LSE. He was previously Professor of Sociology and Head of Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. Professor Bhatt has worked and published extensively on human rights, discrimination and social justice. He has managed and advised on a number of transnational collaborative research projects and has undertaken joint teaching activities related to Palestinian universities. He completed a three-year Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship on the geosociology of religious violence, focusing on the Middle East and South Asia.

Dr Mudar Kassis (co-PI to the project) is a founding member of the DMHR, currently serving as programme director. He also serves as co-director of the WBDI. He joined Birzeit in 1992 as a faculty member in the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Studies, and served as chairperson for the department, and as director of the Institute of Law and acting dean of the Faculty of Law and Public Administration. He also currently chairs the university's Research Ethics Committee. He worked on issues related to human rights, social justice, the concept of dignity, and democratization and serves as a methodology advisor for the Arab Democracy Index.

Haneen Naamneh, is Research Assistant on the project. Haneen is also a PhD candidate in the LSE Sociology department. Her research is concerned with Palestinians in Jerusalem and their engagement with the Israeli legal system since the 1967 occupation to the present day. She holds a LLM from The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and LLB from Haifa University. Prior to studying in the UK, Haneen worked as a lawyer with Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, and was also a legal adviser with the Norwegian Refugee Council in Jerusalem.