Cindy A. Sousa, Susan Kemp, Mona El-Zuhairi (2014). Dwelling within political violence: Palestinian women’s narratives of home, mental health, and resilience. Health & place, 30, 205-214.
Political violence is increasingly played out within everyday civilian environments, particularly family homes. Yet, within the literature on political violence and mental health, the role of threats to home remains under-explored.
Using focus group data from 32 Palestinian women, this paper explores the implications of violations to the home within political violence. Threats to the privacy, control, and constancy of the family home – key dimensions of ontological security (Giddens, 1990) emerged as central themes in women’s narratives.
Surveillance, home invasions, and actual or threatened destruction of women’s home environments provoked fear, anxiety, grief, humiliation, and helplessness, particularly as women struggled to protect their children. Women also described how they mobilized the home for economic, familial and cultural survival.
Study findings illuminate the impact of threats to intimate environments on the well-being of women and their families living with chronic political violence, and underscore the importance of attention to violations of place and home in research on civilian experiences of and responses to political violence.