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Conservation under Occupation in the Historic City of Nablus

Conference contribution
Authors Feras Hammami
Published in 24th AESOP Annual Congress in Helsinki
Publication year 2010
Published at
Language en
Keywords Palestine, occupation, power, conflict, discourse, culture, and conservation
Subject categories History and Archaeology, Architecture, Social Sciences Interdisciplinary, Social and Economic Geography


Drawing on Foucault’s conceptualisation of power – as a set of actions performed upon other actions and reactions – this article aims to examine the mechanisms behind cultural conservation where the nexus of conflictual powers is particularly intensified as an effect of two forces: occupation and international interventions. It examines the ways in which discursive formations on cultural meanings are formed, transformed and correlated, influenced by the multiple powers involved in the politics of cultural conservation. The link between discourse and power is illustrated through the case of the Historic City of Nablus in Palestine. Conflict of power relations and values is a universal question, but it becomes a unique phenomenon when happening in an occupied society. This study reveals that occupation forces, local resistance and international community interventions have exposed the cultural resources of the Palestinian historic centres to ‘concentrated’ processes of ‘destruction’ and ‘conservation’. Understanding the current mechanisms behind cultural conservation may identify possible ways for locally sensitive cultural conservation.

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