Envisioning an alternative Future for the dispossessed in the Middle East and North Africa A study of property conflicts in Palestine, Morocco, and Tunisia

October 2023 to September 2026
colonial and post-colonial history
marginalized communities
Research fields
Law and Political Science

In this project, I aim to tackle the growing trend of studying the issue of dispossession and property conflicts by bringing the MENA region into the discussion. The MENA region has a significant contribution to make to this issue. New interest in the issue of dispossession has been revived in the decade following the Arab revolutions. Due to increasing urbanization, climate change, and political conflict, MENA has been experiencing several political crises, increasingly focused on housing, land, and property rights. My project will combine the examination of the formation of property rights with digital practices and spaces. My research hypothesis states that in circumstances where property rights are uncertain and contested, the emerging use of digital technology as a tool to reclaim property rights by dispossessed communities creates a virtual space for envisioning alternatives to current property regime. I suggest that these new methodologies allow for the legitimization and re-imagining of an alternative property regime that contests the current legal regime by providing what I refer to as a virtual "proof of existence". VIZPROP builds on my previous work, seeking to develop a collaborative web platform to examine the contested conceptions and claims regarding land andproperty ownership in Palestine/Israel, Morocco, and Tunisia. Using innovative methodologies, it combines a crosscountry collaborative mapping exercise with an ethnographic study of actors and organizations using information and communication technology (ICT) to reclaim property rights. Through collaborative work and open innovation, my research will lead to the development of innovative digital tools aimed at the gathering of collectively assembled data, maps and knowledge on property and property rights with the long-term goal of securing property rights of marginalizedcommunities and creating advocacy tools in their interactions with policy makers.