Video abstract – “Inside Checkpoint 300: Checkpoint Regimes as Spatial Political Technologies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories”

Forthcoming in Antipode 51(3) this June, and available online now, Alexandra Rijke and Claudio Minca’s open access paper, “Inside Checkpoint 300: Checkpoint Regimes as Spatial Political Technologies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories”, takes us to the “land of the checkpoints”, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, employing a combination of participant observation, in-depth interviews, and “go-along” interviews to explore the everyday experience of coping with and responding to the Israeli state’s “architecture of occupation”. Read more about the paper below, and watch Alexandra talking about it in the following video…

As a part of the architecture of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories, the Israeli government introduced in 2005 a series of so-called terminal checkpoints as “neutral border crossings”, aimed at minimizing the impact of these barriers on Palestinian lives through a different design and the use of several machines, such as turnstiles and metal detectors. In this article, we analyse terminal Checkpoint 300 in Bethlehem, framing it as a spatial political technology aimed at controlling the movement of Palestinians. More specifically, we investigate the interactions between Palestinian commuters, Israeli soldiers/security guards and the machines operating inside Checkpoint 300. We conclude by suggesting that Checkpoint 300 is a porous barrier whose regime is produced, reproduced but also challenged by such interactions, and that, despite the new “neutral design”, Checkpoint 300 is a place still filled with tension and violence, often exercised by the machines and their “decisions”.

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Alexandra Rijke is currently a PhD candidate at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Her research analyses the daily geographies of the barriers in Israel/Palestine, seeking to shed light on the assemblage of separation barriers, with a special focus on checkpoints. Alexandra analyses checkpoints as spatio-political technologies that “do things” as they produce, via the agency of their human and non-human components, specific geographies based not only on the limitation and control of the movement of Palestinians, and wish for unrestricted movement of Israeli settlers, but also on Palestinians’ diverse and creative forms of engagement with those restrictions.

As well as working with Alexandra in Cultural Geography at Wageningen, Claudio Minca is the Head of the Department of Geography and Planning at Macquarie University in Australia. His work on postcolonial geographies of tourism and travel, spatial theories of modernity, conceptualisations of landscape, place and power, space and biopolitics, and camps and carceral geographies, will be well known to readers of Antipode (though see here). As well as Antipode, Claudio and Alexandra have published their work on Checkpoint 300, and borders more generally, in the journal Political Geography and on Society and Space‘s brilliant companion website.

(The featured image is a map of Checkpoint 300 based on Alexandra’s field notes and drawings during her multiple passages of the checkpoint [source: Iulian Barba Lata; used with permission]. The images above show the general entry tunnel of Checkpoint 300 and first turnstile passages at the end of it [source: photos by Alexandra Rijke, May 2017].)

“Inside Checkpoint 300” joins 14 other papers to make up volume 51, number 3 of Antipode. All of them are available to read online now:

Financialisation, Climate Finance, and the Calculative Challenges of Managing Environmental Change
Sarah Bracking

Housing Squats as “Educational Sites of Resistance”: The Process of Movement Social Base Formation in the Struggle for the House
Carlotta Caciagli

“Fixing” Climate Change by Mortgaging the Future: Negative Emissions, Spatiotemporal Fixes, and the Political Economy of Delay
Wim Carton

Mapping Illegality: The I-Map and the Cartopolitics of “Migration Management” at a Distance
Sebastian Cobarrubias

On the Transformative Potential of Community Land Trusts in the United States
James DeFilippis, Olivia R. Williams, Joseph Pierce, Deborah G. Martin, Rich Kruger and Azadeh Hadizadeh Esfahani

Accumulating Minerals and Dispossessing Indigenous Australians: Native Title Recognition as Settler-Colonialism
Catherine Howlett and Rebecca Lawrence

Negotiating Colonial Violence: Spaces of Precarisation in Palestine
Mikko Joronen

“Academic war” over Geography? Death of Human Geography at the Australian National University
Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt

Deracinated Dispossessions: On the Foreclosures of “Gentrification” in Oakland, CA
Erin McElroy and Alex Werth

Urban Systems of Accumulation: Half a Century of Chilean Neoliberal Urban Policies
Pablo Navarrete-Hernandez and Fernando Toro Cano

Re-scripting Place: Managing Social Class Stigma in a Former Steel-Making Region
Anoop Nayak

Geographies of Indigenous Identity: Spatial Imaginaries and Racialised Power Struggles in Bolivia
Tathagatan Ravindran

Beyond the Local Trap: New Municipalism and the Rise of the Fearless Cities
Bertie Russell

Not About Land, Not Quite a Grab: Dispersed Dispossession in Rural Russia
Alexander Vorbrugg