3rd May 2017 5:30pm-7:00pm

G4, Grand Parade

Place, body and story in the divided city: Ordinary agency in the everyday.

Johanna Mannergren Selimovic (Swedish Institute of International Affairs and Visiting Scholar at Vesalius College, Brussels).

This paper investigates ‘ordinary agency’ in the violent context of East Jerusalem. It identifies creative micro-practices of negotiating the security barrier that slices through the city and the lifeworlds of its Palestinian inhabitants. The paper pays close attention to the seemingly mundane: homework, family dinners, ladders and facebook updates, and reflects upon some moments and sites for day-to-day strategies for dealing with violence and insecurity.

In the paper I ask what possible politics emerges from this everyday living. The paper thus grapples with an emerging key question in peace and conflict research: how do we access and understand agency in the quotidian that is not contained in formal, or even informal structures?

To take on this task I propose an analytical grid revolving around the concepts of place, body, and story. They are certainly mundane concepts, but in their everydayness they are rich and invite us to a close and multilayered reading of the micropolitics of the everyday.

Using this grid, three ’ethnographic moments’ are analysed and unpacked as moments of significant and possibly transformative agency that disturb and thicken the macro narrative of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

Johanna Mannergren Selimovic is a Senior Research Fellow at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs in Stockholm and a Visiting Scholar at Vesalius College, Brussels. Her research concerns peacebuilding with a special interest in transitional justice, politics of memory, everyday peace, and gender. She has conducted research in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Jerusalem and Rwanda and her theoretical and methodological interest lies in narrative analysis and phenomenological approaches. Her work has been published in journals such as Security Dialogue, The International Journal of Transitional Justice, Third World Quarterly, Peacebuilding, and Conflict, Security and Development.