Becoming a man in al-Wihdat : masculine performances in a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan
Title: Becoming a man in al-Wihdat : masculine performances in a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan
Author: ACHILLI, Luigi
Citation: International journal of Middle East studies, 2015, Vol. 47, No. 2, pp. 263-280
ISSN: 0020-7438; 1471-6380
This article explores the complex interplay between masculinity and nationalism among Palestinians living in al-Wihdat refugee camp. Originally set up in 1955 to host Palestinians who had fled Palestine following the establishment of the State of Israel, the camp is part of Amman, the capital of Jordan. Youth masculinity in the camp is widely perceived in Jordan as an expression of either immoral behavior or unthinking radicalism, and as a symbol of cultural and political difference and the failure of camp dwellers to embrace assimilation. These enduring stereotypes about camp dwellers are involuntarily reinforced by a specific understanding of masculinity in the scholarly literature. However, camp dwellers’ masculinities are not uniform. In this article, I explore the complex interplay between masculinity and nationalism among Palestinian refugees living in al-Wihdat. In so doing, I challenge not only popular stereotypes about Palestinian refugees in Jordan today, but also the discursive mutual dependence between nationalism and hegemonic masculinity in the scholarly literature. I argue that young men’s ability to navigate and master diverse and sometimes contrasting registers of manhood enables them to reproduce a Palestinian national identity in exile while achieving socioeconomic integration in Jordan. In pursuing this argument, the article has two goals: to challenge popular stereotypes about Palestinian refugees in Jordan today; and to problematize the discursive mutual dependency between nationalism and hegemonic masculinity in the study of Palestinian masculinity.
Published online on 26 April 2015.
Type of Access: openAccess