Infrastructures of exclusion: Roadscapes and bus routes in Galilee
My research aims to examine the political geography of settler colonialism and the ways in which infrastructural development comes to matter economically, socially and politically, both as a material and symbolic assemblage of agents, networks and processes. More specifically, the research investigates the role of road infrastructure in dispersing minorities and in legitimising inequality and segregation, thus consolidating uneven and racialised landscapes. Analysing the issue in the context of Israeli settler colonialism, it will aim to argue that while symbolising ‘modernity’ and ‘progress’, the expansion of road networks has de facto accommodated the logic of the colonial and military power.
Significantly, Israeli infrastructural developments have come to constitute a persistent power disparity between the main urban centres – particularly along the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem ‘corridor’ and the coastal regions – and the relatively overlooked ‘peripheries’- especially in the northern Galilee and the southern Negev regions. Therefore, if on the one hand these networks have replaced a regime of distance and inaccessibility with ‘rational’ and target-orientated roadscapes, on the other hand they have redefined uneven landscapes, bypassing Palestinian areas while connecting colonial centres, and consequently shaping colonial life and experiences in crucial ways. By the same token, transportation networks have played a crucial role in the enforcement of specific patterns of dispossession and segregation. Notably, Israeli buses have employed an extensive network of roads built to seamlessly connect settlements and Israeli cities, while weakening Palestinians’ relations with their unrecognised villages of 1948.