Colonial management as a social field: The Palestinian remaking of Israel’s system of spatial control

Walid Habbas*, Yael Berda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This article delves into the everyday dynamics of colonial rule to outline a novel way of understanding colonized–colonizer interactions. It conceives colonial management as a social field in which both the colonized and colonizers negotiate and exchange resources, despite their decidedly unequal positions within a racial hierarchy. Drawing their example from the West Bank, the authors argue that a Palestinian economic elite has proactively participated in the co-production of the colonial management of spatial mobility, a central component of Israeli colonial rule. The study employs interviews and document analysis to investigate how the nexus between Palestine’s commercial-logistical needs and Israel’s security complex induced large-scale Palestinian producers to exert agency and reorder commercial mobility. The authors describe and explain the evolution of a ‘Door-to-Door’ logistical arrangement, in which large-scale Palestinian traders participate in extending Israeli’s system of spatial control in exchange for facilitating logistical mobility. This horizontal social encounter that entails pay-offs is conditioned, but not fully determined, by vertical relations of domination and subordination.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)848-865
Number of pages18
JournalCurrent Sociology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • Colonial rule
  • Palestine/Israel
  • mobility
  • political economy
  • social field
  • surveillance


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