This article examines the gendered ways in which women community leaders in East Jerusalem experience and navigate their urban environment. We draw on the concept of ‘gray space’ as a way to think through how Palestinian women’s everyday lives are shaped by East Jerusalem as a liminal space. Gray space conveys the spectrum that stretches between categories of legality and illegality, formality and informality–either in housing, economy, or polity. While gray space has mostly been used to understand the structural forces that shape cities, we connect the concept to feminist geography scholarship to investigate the quotidian, everyday gendered ways in which Palestinian women negotiate this unique and complex space. Our research demonstrates that far from being passive victims of their oppressive and challenging circumstances, Palestinian women leaders are agents of change in their communities through their development of various everyday strategies and initiatives. Within the patriarchal context of Palestinian society, the agency of women leaders can be partly attributed to the power vacuum in East Jerusalem caused by the occupation, demonstrating that gray space can be both a site of restriction and liberation for Palestinian women.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- East Jerusalem
- Gray space
- everyday space
- gendered space
- urban informality