Post-Domicide Artefacts: Mapping Resistance and Loss onto Palestinian House-Keys

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Scott Webster


This article is concerned with the experiences of domicide—that is, the suffering caused by the deliberate destruction of home by human agency in pursuit of certain objectives—faced by Palestinians as a legacy (as well as in the present) of the ongoing conflict with Israel. Existing scholarly and activist research provides some essential data about these experiences, but intellectual contributions remain primarily focused on the act of demolition or displacement. This act alone does not constitute ‘domicide’. What must follow is an attempt by the displaced to grapple with the whole affective dimension of being forcibly separated from home and the symbolic and creative responses that it begets. The significance house-keys have acquired within Palestinian inter-familial and communal customs, as well as within cultural (re)production, provides insight into this suffering. Attachment to the house-key is viewed as emblematic of feelings towards the lost home—a continuation of that connection by other means. This article explores the range of ways ation of the key’s symbolic value has been reconfigured as it permeates different arenas of cultural production and activity, and how the keys have come to embody both loss of home and resistance of the goals of Israeli domicide.

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Author Biography

Scott Webster, University of Sydney

Scott Webster is a PhD candidate within the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney. He researches in the fields of memory studies and cultural studies.