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Title: Taming the insurgent city : on the role of information technology in the reconstruction of a Palestinian refugee camp
Author: Halkort , Monika
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis discusses the computer databases and Geographic Information Systems (G IS) as political technologies in the reconstruction of Nahr el Bared, a Palestinian Refugee Camp in North Lebanon. The camp has been completely destroyed in 2007 and needed to be rebuilt from scratch. One of the biggest challenges that this involved was the fact that no one has ever documented the spatial syntax of the camp. The lack of archival records has dearly demonstrated the critical significance of social and geographic data for political claimmaking under conditions of statelessness and un-belonging. In Nahr el Bared they became the primary means for negotiating the material and political foundations upon which the camp could be rebuilt. Mapping and collecting information on Nahr el Bared required much more than documenting lost property and assets. It confronted the refugees with a temporal paradox that required them to insist on the their status as temporary residents, so as to not compromise their right to return to Palestine, while at the same time demanding recognition for their historical place and achievements after 60 years of exile in Lebanon. In the analysis of my fieldwork I focus on the question how the database and collaborative mapmaking tools mediate, challenge and transform the ways in which authorship and ownership of space is enacted, validated and accounted for. In my concluding argument I make the case, that information rights provide a critical platform for the deliberation of 'expressive sovereignties' that can significantly strengthen the position of refugees in defending their interests against logics of enclosure that underpin military humanitarian agendas and the idea of the state. The rea l time logic of information processing procedures, I suggest, provide powerful zones of 'temporary autonomy' that escape lines of inclination instituted by colonial archives and the linear horizon of seriality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available