This article explores time as a lens through which to understand the lives of Palestinians under a colonial-settler occupation and policy of closure where time and mobility are weaponized as an integral part of expanding the state and winnowing the indigenous population. Time, like mobility, is a heavily marked category, objectified and subject to calculation and control, on one hand, and uncertainty and loss of control, on the other. In the prevailing “economy of suspended rights” for Palestinians, where autonomy over the body’s movements through space is severely curtailed, their humanity and agency are affirmed through the will to persist and move. Waiting is not a passive state but is rather an embodied state of active stasis, punctuated by movement; both occur in spatiotemporal zones characterized by particular configurations of power. Ethnographic encounters illustrate the power to impose waiting and appropriate time and, conversely, subversion and the refusal to acquiesce. When controls over mobility are differentially allocated to a population situated within a defined territory, differentiated temporal orders and their impact on subjectivities are put into relief. The calculated strategy of control mixed with uncertainty and arbitrariness engenders anxiety, subordination, and ultimately immiseration but subversion and resistance as well.
Skip Nav Destination
Julie Peteet; Closure’s Temporality: The Cultural Politics of Time and Waiting. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 January 2018; 117 (1): 43–64. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-4282037
Download citation file: