Wired. The Materiality of Power in Palestine-Israel

01 October 2017 → 30 September 2020
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
Project description

Materiality is back. After the turn to discourse, there is a new fascination with material stuff for

the study of contemporary political life. As part of this renewed emphasis, infrastructures are

making a conspicuous appearance and so is electricity –n infrastructure par excellence. Situated

at the intersection of urban studies, political economy, and Middle East studies, this project sets

out to investigate this material surge through an in-depth study of the ways electrification comes

to matter socially, politically, economically and spatially in Palestine-Israel. The project studies in

archival and ethnographic detail practices, discourses and actors that transform electricity into

nodes of governance and flows of power and thereby endow infrastructures with politically potent

lives that vitalize processes of colonialism, modernity, statecraft and development. As such, the

project develops a sociomaterial conceptualization of electricity that: unsettles divisions between

technology and society, material and symbolic and human-and-non-human; address the

theoretical and empirical lacunae in social science research on electricity and electrification in

colonial contexts; and produce an innovative history of the region. This approach underscores the

specific historical and political significance of electricity in constituting socio-political orders and it

provides an alternative to accounts of Palestine-Israel largely defined by geopolitics, nationalism

and violence.