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Emancipating Space from the Conditions of Violence: The Broken Middle and Inaugurated Mourning in Israel and Palestine

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posted on 2021-11-16, 00:10 authored by Ombler, Jennifer

Spatiality in Israel and Palestine is mired in ongoing trauma and hardened differentiation. This thesis argues that spatiality must be reconfigured in order to break from a stagnated pattern of ongoing conflict. First, border lines become increasingly rigid, and come to enact a bordering practice that radically differentiates. Second, the site of the border itself offers opportunity for political possibility. Third, the spaces of violence must be subject to a process of mourning that enables emancipation from the conditions that would support ongoing violence. I draw upon the thought of Gillian Rose to re-articulate a notion of the border as a broken middle, and to set forth an approach to the spaces of violence that incorporates them into a process of inaugurated mourning. Re-articulating the border as a broken middle enriches the field of critical border studies which seeks to expand on the notion of the border as a site of potential connectivity and political or social possibility. A Rosean approach challenges the dualisms that a hardened border represents, persistently subjecting these dualisms to interrogation that undermines their rigidity. Re-configuring the spaces of violence through a process of inaugurated mourning gives expression to grief, and disentangles the organisation of space from ongoing violence, without forgetting past suffering. An inaugurated approach seeks a fuller and self-reflective understanding of the conditions of suffering; it works against retreating into a melancholic condition that would reproduce the conditions of violence. These arguments are developed through an exposition of projects by artist Francis Alÿs, and architect/artist collective Decolonising Architecture Art Residency. Through their propositional nature, these projects illuminate the possibilities of a critical approach to the production and re-configuring of political and social space.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

International Relations

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Schick, Kate; Batchen, Geoffrey