Association for Political and Legal Anthropology
Association for Feminist Anthropology
Cosponsored - Oral Presentation Session
Jordan has recently argued that Palestinian-Jordanians are citizens only until the conflict with Israel ends, interpellating them as “temporary citizens.” The fear that the international humanitarian regime is making them permanent underlies a public interest in the Jordanian women Palestinian men marry, or could marry. In addition to denationalizing Palestinians, Jordan forbids citizen women married to Palestinian men from transferring citizenship to their children, rendering them stateless. These and other noncitizens comprise a third of Jordan’s population. Jordan is the world’s sixth-largest refugee-hosting country and the host of the largest number of Palestinian refugees. The government claims it preserves Palestinians’ “right of return” to a future Palestine in the face of a limited, carrying-capacity problem. This paper examines the ethnosexual processes through which the idiom of the “Palestinian problem” intersects with the discourse of “carrying capacity” that NGOs patronized by Jordan’s monarchy use to reference its migration crisis. This racializing discourse fuels a self-empowerment regime with an ecological imperative. Women’s reproductivity is targeted for its potential to generate biological threats to the nation. Facing scarcity, the state must live within its means—not by shrinking social services but by reducing the number of citizens eligible for protection. The convergence of racializing immigration policies of the neoliberal security state and the nation-state’s patriarchal investments in nationality reveals that citizenship is temporary for us all. Taking family life seriously as a site for state making and unmaking, I highlight how gender and kinship are central to analyses of the state and sovereignty.