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Christopher Harker

Debt and Obligation in Contemporary Ramallah

[Banners by Bank of Palestine advertising savings. Photo by C. Harker]

A recent advertisement for a Bank of Palestine savings scheme, reproduced on billboards and in magazines all over the Ramallah-al-Bireh-Beitounia conurbation (hereafter Ramallah), tells residents “Together We Are a Family.” We are clearly meant to think that the Bank of Palestine wants, or considers itself, to be part of the family. Although counterintuitive, this proposition embodies the ways in which banks have become increasingly part of intimate urban life in the central ...

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Christopher Harker


Dr. Christopher Harker is a Lecturer in Geography at Durham University. He currently holds a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship enabling him to work with Reema Shebeitah and Dareen Sayyad on a research project entitled Families and Cities: An Everyday Geography of Ramallah. The research examines the social and economic effects of the Ramallah conurbation’s post-Oslo growth through the everyday practices of families and individuals. Using the neighborhood of Um-Asharayet as a case study, the research focuses on migration, debt and obligation, and residents’ understandings of Ramallah. For more information please visit or Dr. Harker has published widely on the geographies and geopolitics of everyday life in Palestine, including in the journals Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Environment and Planning A, and Geoforum. He tweets @ChrisHarker.