Palestinian refugees’ experience of protracted displacement is among the lengthiest in history. In her breathtaking new book, Ilana Feldman explores this community’s engagement with humanitarian assistance over a seventy-year period and their persistent efforts to alter their present and future conditions. Based on extensive archival and ethnographic field research, Life Lived in Relief offers a comprehensive account of the Palestinian refugee experience living with humanitarian assistance in many spaces and across multiple generations. By exploring the complex world constituted through humanitarianism, and how that world is experienced by the many people who inhabit it, Feldman asks pressing questions about what it means for a temporary status to become chronic. How do people in these conditions assert the value of their lives? What does the Palestinian situation tell us about the world? Life Lived in Relief is essential reading for anyone interested in the history and practice of humanitarianism today.
Ilana Feldman is Professor of Anthropology, History, and International Affairs at George Washington University. She is the author of Governing Gaza: Bureaucracy, Authority, and the Work of Rule, 1917–1967 and Police Encounters: Security and Surveillance in Gaza under Egyptian Rule.