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Frictional Homebuilding: Swedish Civil Society Actors in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Funding Agency: SRA-MECW. Duration: 2024-2027

This project explores the complex history of Swedish humanitarian initiatives in the occupied Palestinian territories through the concept of frictional humanitarian homebuilding.

Addressing three research questions, it studies the complex interactions between civil society actors and various stakeholders, shedding light on the frictions and power dynamics shaping Swedish aid over time from 1967 until today. First, it examines evolving normative imperatives guiding Swedish-funded initiatives amidst enduring military occupation. Second, it analyses how discourses and practices within these initiatives reflect and generate friction. Last, it investigates the multifaceted relations shaping Swedish humanitarian homebuilding, including interactions between CSAs, Swedish aid agencies, Palestinian local organizations, UN bodies, and Israeli authorities. Through a study of four organizations from 1967 to the present—Individuell Människohjälp, Palestinagrupperna, Kvinna till Kvinna, and Ekumeniska Följeslagarprogrammet—the project innovatively combines humanitarian history with political, digital and ethnographic approaches. 

Research Team

Maria Småberg, CMES Researcher and Senior Lecturer in History and Peace and Conflict Studies (Lund University)

Nina Gren, CMES Researcher and Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology (Lund University)

Lisa Strömbom, CMES Researcher and Associate Professor in Political Science (Lund University)

Elsa Hedling, CMES Researcher and Associate Senior Lecturer in European Studies (Lund University)