The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Photo of Nina Gren

Nina Gren


Photo of Nina Gren

Occupied Lives : Maintaining Integrity in a Palestinian Refugee Camp in the West Bank


  • Nina Gren

Summary, in English

Media coverage of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict does not necessarily enhance one’s knowledge or understanding of the Palestinians; on the contrary they are often reduced to either victims or perpetrators. Similarly, while many academic studies devote considerable effort to analyzing the political situation in the occupied territories, there have been few sophisticated case studies of Palestinian refugees living under Israeli rule. An ethnographic study of Palestinian refugees in Dheisheh refugee camp, Occupied Lives looks closely at the attempts of the camp inhabitants to survive and bounce back from the profound effects of political violence and Israeli military occupation. Based on the author’s extensive fieldwork conducted inside the camp, this study examines the daily efforts of camp inhabitants to secure survival and meaning during the period of the al-Aqsa Intifada. It argues that the political developments and experiences of extensive violence at the time, which left most refugees outside of direct activism, caused many camp inhabitants to disengage from traditional forms of politics. Instead, they became involved in alternative practices aimed at maintaining their sense of social worth and integrity, by focusing on processes to establish a ‘normal’ order, social continuity, and morality. Nina Gren explores these processes and the ambiguities and dilemmas that necessarily arose from them and the ways in which the political and the existential are often intertwined in Dheisheh.


  • Centre for Advanced Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)
  • MECW: The Middle East in the Contemporary World

Publishing year




Document type



American University in Cairo Press


  • Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
  • Social Anthropology


  • Palestinians
  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Occupied territories
  • Refugees
  • Camps
  • Ethnographic study
  • Social anthropology
  • Political violence
  • Occupation




  • The Legacy of Al Nakba: Politics and Everyday Life in a Palestinian Refugee Camp


  • ISBN: 9789774166952