A Tapestry of Edgelands: Defining Carceral Edgeland(s) in Masafer Yatta (Firing Zone 918)

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The carceral edgeland occupies a unique position. At times, it is acknowledged; at others, it remains unseen by those outside its boundaries. In cases where the edgeland is architectural, such as a prison or a detention center, it can prompt viewers to consider the power dynamics exercised within. This article, however, is concerned with the possibilities for the edgeland to be moveable and embodied. Focusing on the transformation of the area of Masafer Yatta in the occupied West Bank into a military training zone, the article shifts the discourse from the connection between the edgeland and the symbolic power of carceral architecture to suggest alternative carceral edgelands: the occupying edgeland, wherein the moveable and embodied converge to form a tapestry of edgelands. The Israeli military presence varies in intensity, yet the result is the realization of Achille Mbembe’s ‘infrastructural warfare’ (2003) that manifests through the moveable edgeland, and second, the embodied edgeland that is enacted by the military personnel who symbolize the state. In Masafer Yatta, the army’s long-term presence has had an impact on the communities that evokes Lauren Berlant’s ‘political depression’ (2011). Building on Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts’ recognition of multitudinous edgelands (2012), this article contends that there can be multiple carceral edgelands at one site, all of which facilitate exclusion and political depression through enclosure, whether through fences, walls, or moveable checkpoints.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-30
Number of pages13
JournalSociology Lens
Issue number1
Early online date21 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Palestine
  • boundaries
  • conflict
  • Occupation
  • Middle East
  • politics
  • military


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