Palestinian Refugees and Identity : Nationalism, Politics and the Everyday
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After the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, Palestinian refugees fled over the border into Jordan, which in 1950 formally annexed the West Bank. In the wake of the 1967 War, another wave of Palestinians sought refuge in the Hashemite Kingdom. Today, 42 per cent of registered Palestinian refugees live in Jordan. In this historical context, one might expect Palestinian refugee camps to be highly politicised spaces. Yet Luigi Achilli argues in this book that there is in fact a relative absence of political activity. Instead, what is prevalent is a desire to live an 'ordinary life'. It is within the framework of performing and creating everyday life - working, praying, leisure activities - that Achilli examines nationalism and identity. He concludes that it is through this focus on the everyday that these Palestinian refugees are able to assert their own meanings and understandings of national identity against the more inflexible interpretations provided by the political systems in Gaza and the West Bank.