Dislocated Masculinity: Adolescence and the Palestinian Nation-in-exile

Citation:

Hart, Jason. 2008. “Dislocated Masculinity: Adolescence and the Palestinian Nation-in-exile.” Journal of Refugee Studies 21 (1): 64-81.

Author: Jason Hart

Abstract:

Taking as its starting-point emerging discussion about gender and nationalism, this article considers the masculinities constructed by and for adolescent males born into a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan. I consider the relationship of these masculinities to the construction of the camp as a moral and socio-political space. Through the employment of ethnographic material, the article demonstrates the ways in which young males—through the performance of a particular, dominant vision of masculinity termed mukhayyamji—serve to reproduce the camp as authentic location of an exilic national community. The article also examines the implications for individual young men of this interplay between masculine performance and the reproduction of the camp as a moral and socio-political space. It explores the consequences both for those who fail or choose not to uphold the idealized, mukhayyamji adolescent masculinity and for those who evince the skills and qualities that this entails. It is argued that, while the former risk marginalization from the camp as a moral and socio-political community, the latter face marginalization from the economic life of wider Jordanian society and, with that, endanger the transition to social adulthood. Thus, a set of paradoxes emerges for young males that reflects the ambiguous position of the Palestinian refugees in Jordan at a specific moment in the history of Jordan and the Palestinian national struggle.

Keywords: masculinity, adolescence, refugees, Jordan, Palestinian

Topics: Occupation, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Refugee/IDP Camps, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Nationalism Regions: Africa, MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Jordan

Year: 2008

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