טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentSwitat Orwa
SubjectPlanning among Indigenous Peoples and the Role of Civil
Society; The Case of Unrecognized Villages in
Negev Region in Israel
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor Dr. Yosef Jabareen
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

The literature shows that neo-liberal urban and spatial processes determined by the free market, the environmental climate crisis, and the need to advance rights in urban areas are some of the causes that generate involvement of civil society in urban planning.  However, there is a lack of research on the role of civil society among indigenous communities dealing with the state planning. This study aims to bridge these gaps, and examine how civil society of indigenous communities uses planning in order to promote their territorial and development claims. The research focused on civil society activism, around the unrecognized Bedouin villages, in the Negev/Israel as a case- study. The study addressed the subsequent questions; What is the role of civil society among indigenous communities in shaping its claims for land control, recognition, and resource management? How does an indigenous people use modern planning in order to base its historical spatial rights that clash with state sovereignty, while at the same time promoting everyday civil issues? What are the motives, characteristics, strategies, and tools that shape the role of an indigenous people civil society in spatial planning?

In addition to critical reading of government and alternative plans, data analysis of community and active civil society among the unrecognized villages in the Negev, this study is based on qualitative methods and In-depth interviews with 21 prominent activists, in fourteen civil society organizations, active among the unrecognized villages in the Negev region.

The findings suggest three main concepts regarding the way indigenous people use civil society in their territorial claims: (1) reframing of claims; (2) resistance; and (3) community regeneration.   The research shows that civil society re-defines the space and the demands, by combining the civic, national and global realms, while simultaneously adapting the indigenous demands to the planning and legal systems.  Secondly, civil society resists state planning by challenging citizenship and using available civic tools based on citizenship, that promote improvement to the Arab Bedouin's life.   It also challenges the sovereignty of the institutional planning by using radical practices and de-legitimization of planning. Thirdly, civil society regenerates the community through strengthening the community's hold on its land, community empowerment, and by de-constructing the self-embedded perceptions that express inferiority and nomadism. In spite of that, in many case the processes used by civil society reproduce the patriarchal social system through gender and political exclusion. This trialectic occurs under conditions of dispossession, internal colonialism and in the Neo-liberal field that conceives indigenous land claims through the individual ownership model. Under these conditions, recognition is attainable through trade-off relations, in which social liberal inclusion is exchanged for a set of compromised rights and recognition, which furthermore depoliticize the struggle. This process is influenced by internal tensions such as nationalism vs. citizenship vs. universality, challenging the citizenship vs. challenging sovereignty, framing the demands vs. regulating them, community empowerment vs. reproduction of the social power relations and the demand for recognition vs. the demand for land.