restricted access 7. In and Out of Territory
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7 In and Out of Territory DAN RABINOWITZ EDITORS' COMMENTS Dan Rabinowitz has entitled his contribution "In and Out of Territory ." While the empirical instance he has chosen to study is ofa mixed (i.e., Jewish-Arab) town that lies next to a larger Palestinian Arab city (Nazareth), his analytical focus is on the images and constructs that Palestinian Arabs use in conceptualizing the territory ofthese settlements. Rabinowitz's interest lies in examining the socially constructed means individuals employ to conceptualize the space associated with their identity as members ofa certain nation. Here the picture is far from unitary. Rooted in a profound ambivalence to the state, Arabs living in Natzeret Illit are at once participants in and outsiders to Israel. They wait for things to work out, and seek uneasy alliances with their present situation in the hope for some change in the future in which they will somehow belong more to their place of residence. A specific terrestrial base either at hand or as part of a chimerical future, is an obligatory component of every effort of what Anderson (1983) has labeled "imagining the nation." It is essential for the suggestion of a physical substrate-the 'homeland' in the literal sense-without which the nationalist idea will remain apriori a groundless blueprint; its promise of natural resources is essential for the concept of the welfare of 'the people.' But there is more to promised lands than these material aspects. Sanctified as part and parcel of 'the people's heritage,' land becomes a means to translate utopian values into a grid of visible and vital entities (Williams and 177 7 In and Out of Territory DAN RABINOWITZ EDITORS' COMMENTS Dan Rabinowitz has entitled his contribution "In and Out of Territory ." While the empirical instance he has chosen to study is of a mixed (i.e., Jewish-Arab) town that lies next to a larger Palestinian Arab city (Nazareth), his analytical focus is on the images and constructs that Palestinian Arabs use in conceptualizing the territory of these settlements. Rabinowitz's interest lies in examining the socially constructed l11eans individuals employ to conceptualize the space associated u'ith their identity as members ofa certain nation. Here the picture is far from unitary. Rooted in a profound ambivalence to the state, Arabs living in Natzeret Illit are at once participants in and outsiders to Israel. They wait for things to work out, and seek uneasy alliances with their present situation in the hope for some change in the future in rvhich they will somehow belong more to their place of residence. A specific terrestrial base either at hand or as part of a chimerical future, is an obligatory component of every effort of what Anderson (1983) has labeled "imagining the nation." It is essential for the suggestion of a physical substrate-the 'homeland' in the literal sense-without which the nationalist idea will remain apriori a groundless blueprint; its promise of natural resources is essential for the concept of the welfare of 'the people.' But there is more to promised lands than these rnaterial aspects. Sanctified as part and parcel of 'the people's heritage,' land becomes a means to translate utopian values into a grid of visible and vital entities (Williams and 177 178 Dan Rabinowitz Smith] 983:510). The renewal, regeneration, and rebuilding of the nation's terrestrial space are frequently linked to the fundamental, often revolutionary changes that people expect to undergo as part of nation building (Smith 1981). Gupta and Ferguson (1992:7-8) critique the universal tendency to perceive 'National Culture' as inextricable from the primordial homeland and as unproblematically related to well-bounded 'peoples' and 'societies.' Emerging 'national cultures' can thus be argued to consist primarily of bundles of idealistic snapshots representing (1) projective change and (2) the process of regeneration this change is supposed to trigger for the 'people' in its unifying 'land.' Not surprisingly, the newly rediscovered, romanticized, and idealized rural agricultural community features centrally in these imaginations , often as cultural markers that signify historical depth and 'rootedness ' (see Malkki 1992).1 Studies by geographers and sociologists into cultural constructs of space in urban communities (Suttles 1972, 1984; Jackson] 984) have offered valuable insight into concepts and images that shape the multiethnic, economically varied community in North American and other Western industrialized metropoli. As Gupta and Ferguson observe (1992:6), anthropologists are only now beginning to look at the theoretical aspects of space. My contribution here will be to introduce some key metaphors...


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