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Luigi Achilli

Al-Wihdat Refugee Camp: Between Inclusion and Exclusion

[Al-Wihdat Refugee Camp. Image by Jihad Nijem]

Drawing on the influential writing of Arendt, Foucault, and Agamben, much of the literature on refugees and refugee camps has generally emphasized the liminality and extraordinariness of the space of the camp. Camps have often been juxtaposed to the city. Whereas the latter has come to represent normality, the camp has been portrayed as the site of hardened national identities and political ideologies or, conversely, as a place of confinement for speechless victims. This ...

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Fun, Football, and Palestinian Nationalism

[Al-Wihdat fans. Image by Jihad Nijem]

Some of the most enduring memories of fieldwork in al-Wihdat refugee camp are the several evenings I spent watching football matches in the company of my friends.  Al-Wihdat is a Palestinian refugee camp established in 1955 on the outskirts of Amman, the capital of Jordan. The camp today is fully incorporated into the city through urban expansion. When I began my fieldwork in 2009, I expected Palestinian refugee camps to be highly politicized. Setting out to document ...

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Bio

Luigi Achilli


Luigi Achilli is research associate at the Migration Policy Center (EUI). He holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in political anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). His research and writing focus on everyday forms of political engagement and disengagements, citizenship, nationalism, Palestinian issue, refugees and refugee camp, and the politics of space. He is currently working on the reverberation of the Arab Spring in Jordan. His last research project has culminated with the publication of a book about the significance of the “ordinary” in the process of political self-fashioning in Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, “Palestinian Refugees and Identity: Nationalism, Politics and the Everyday” (I.B. Tauris, 2015, forthcoming). Since 2014, Luigi is also part of the editorial team of Allegra: A Virtual Lab of Legal Anthropology.