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Electrical PalestineCapital and Technology from Empire to Nation$
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Fredrik Meiton

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520295889

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520295889.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 24 June 2022

The Politics of Thin Circuitries

The Politics of Thin Circuitries

(p.79) Three The Politics of Thin Circuitries
Electrical Palestine

Fredrik Meiton

University of California Press

Chapter 3 focuses on the electrification of Jaffa, the first practical step in Rutenberg’s countrywide electrification scheme. For the Palestinians, electrification helped constitute Palestine, conceptually and materially, as an object of national politics. The tactics that the nationalist movement adopted began from a technological fact, namely the young electric grid’s vulnerability to sabotage, which the Palestinians used to gain purchase for their political demands. Rutenberg countered with boundary work. He denied the political quality of his work, endeavored to align his project with a free-market rationale, and emphasized the technological exigency that supposedly governed the grid’s development. In so doing, he managed to characterize Palestinian opposition as politically motivated, in contrast to his own scientific posture.

Keywords:   boundary work, politics of non-politics, nationalism

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