Olive growing in Palestine: an everyday form of resistance

PhD Thesis


Simaan, J. 2018. Olive growing in Palestine: an everyday form of resistance. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Faculty of Health and Wellbeing
AuthorsSimaan, J.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification namePhD
Abstract

Everyday occupations have mainly been studied in the fields of occupational therapy and occupational science within a Western context. Research has mostly focused on individual occupations of people with disabilities, and findings were mostly interpreted within Eurocentric and human-centred perspectives that misrepresented marginalised communities and their daily lives.

Aiming to reduce some of this gap in knowledge, I set out to explore everyday activities of olive farmers in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). My ‘liminal’ positionality of being a Palestinian living and working in the UK enabled a bridging between Palestinians’ ways of life in the Global South and occupational science as a Global North perspective. I posed two research questions: How do the structures, policies and practices of Israeli settler colonialism and its military occupation influence the daily activities of olive growing communities in the oPt? What are the means that communities adopt to enable the daily occupations of olive farming to continue? I wished to study the motivations and principles for the activity of olive growing which were used as active responses – or resistance – to occupational injustices caused by settler colonialism.

I designed a study that adopted de-colonial ethnographic methods. Field trips were carried out throughout the olive growing cycle, during which 11 in-depth interviews were conducted with – and observations made of – participant families and individual participants. An iterative (inductive and deductive) thematic analysis and an ‘intercultural translation’ (Santos, 2014) resulted in identification of themes, which were analysed in relation to Wilcock’s ‘occupational determinants of health’ (2006). Sutra expressed the Doing for Well-being principle of olive growing, A’wna was identified as the collaborative aspect of the activity, or the Doing for Belonging to land and people, and Sumud – as a third principle of action for olive growing – means that olive farmers do this activity for Belonging and Becoming, or as a resistive daily act. Sutra-A’wna-Sumud were collectively conceptualised as Everyday-Forms-of-Resistance (to occupational apartheid), were found to extend occupational sciences’ notions of Doing-Being-Becoming-Belonging, and illustrated communal Palestinian ways of knowing and resisting. Sutra-A’wna-Sumud demonstrated a set of means of action and interpretation that move beyond the individual as the main area of concern, and perceive human communities as a continuation, and in mutual relation to, their environment.

This study provides insights, learned from a Global South group, on specific manifestations of occupational apartheid, a unique collective occupation (olive growing) and an occupational consciousness (Sutra-A’wna-Sumud/ Everyday-Forms-of-Resistance) that was employed to counter occupational apartheid. This is hoped to widen occupational science’s and occupational therapy’s understanding of people, their environments and occupations, which will be useful in other fields of study concerned with humans, their daily activities and their well-being.

Year2018
Supplemental file
File Access Level
Restricted
Publication process dates
Deposited11 Sep 2018
AcceptedMay 2018
AcceptedAug 2018
Output statusUnpublished
Accepted author manuscript
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