[P6370] About time: Theorizing temporal constructions of belonging in the contemporary Levant

Created by Patricia Ward
Friday, 12/03/21 11:30 am


Borders, citizenship, and nationality have often served as the parameters within which social scientists have explained who and how populations claim to ‘belong’ within certain places. Critical scholarship, however, highlights the ways in which notions of belonging are increasingly and more often articulated temporally -- that is, time articulates the inclusion of certain groups and the exclusion of others. State and non-state actors wield temporal controls and strategies to produce and maintain boundaries of belonging in ways that simultaneously reify racial, ethnic, gender, and class hierarchies. Time therefore is the boundary of difference: the producer of the ‘Other’. Yet, the ambiguity embedded in temporal boundaries also opens possibilities to negotiate, resist, and contest belonging through time as well. Considering the empirical and theoretical underpinnings of how we make sense of these temporal dynamics is therefore critical in order to identify and explain the various (in)visible practices that produce and maintain difference and social inequalities.

Drawing upon members’ own empirical work, this panel considers the ways in which time is conceptualized and utilized in daily practice to delineate boundaries of belonging in the contemporary Levant. Selecting the contemporary Levant as the space in which to explore these temporal dynamics is intentional, given that constructions of belonging in the region have long been contested and articulated through spaces of displacement, aid response, (non)state bureaucracies, and public life.

This panel aims to draw upon our understandings of temporal exclusions in the contemporary Levant as a way to broaden and elaborate theoretical explanations of the relationship between temporality and exclusion. Resisting narratives that frame the MENA region as exceptional, we propose the Levant as a case study to bridge theoretical and empirical debates of the less visible forces contributing to global social inequalities. It is ‘about time’ that scholars seriously examine time as a crucial and inconspicuous element in projects of inclusion and exclusion, and this panel takes up the overdue call.


Anthro; Archit & Urb Plng; Geog; Pol Science; Socio; Anthro; Archit & Urb Plng; Geog; Pol Science; Socio; Anthro; Archit & Urb Plng; Geog; Pol Science; Socio




Hiba Bou Akar

(Columbia University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair;

Noora Lori

(Boston University)
Noora Lori is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University. Her book, Offshore Citizens: Permanent “Temporary” Status in the Gulf (Cambridge University Press 2019) received the best book...
Panel Participating Role(s): Discussant;

Patricia Ward

(Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity)
Trish’s research interests are in the areas of transnational labor, humanitarian aid and development, and the global refugee regime. Her current research focuses on labor practices in the humanitarian aid sector, particularly within the Middle East...
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Irene Tuzi

(Humboldt University)
Irene Tuzi is a PhD Candidate in Social Sciences at Sapienza University of Rome, and Humboldt University of Berlin. She is affiliated with the Institute of Migration Studies at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. Her research looks at the impact...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Ammar Azzouz

(University of Oxford)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Melissa Gatter

(University of Sheffield)
My research centers on the anthropology of forced migration, humanitarianism and development, time, and refugee camp governance in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Jordan. I am currently Research Associate at the Sheffield Institute for International...
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;