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Khalili, Laleh (2016) 'The Politics of Pleasure: Promenading on the Corniche and Beachgoing.' Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 34 (4). pp. 583-600.

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Can the pleasures of young Palestinian women from refugee camps in promenading on the Beirut seaside Corniche on a warm summer evening be political? Or days spent at women-only beaches? If so, how do we understand such pleasure as everyday practices, as a politics of the present moment, or conversely (or simultaneously) as mechanisms of being co-opted into a broader apparatus of consumerist ideology and capitalist complacency? Drawing on ethnographic research over 2 years I argue that these moments of pleasure are caesuras in the massive apparatus of power – welded from strands of work, neoliberal practice, nationalist certitudes and political exclusion – which binds these women. These acts of pleasure cannot easily be categorised as ‘resistance’ but I argue that they should not facilely be considered reinforcements of hegemonic control either. They are momentary and ephemeral recognitions of ordinary life lived in hard times, attempts at clawing back an instant of joy from the drudgery of the everyday, and a surrender to the enjoyment of conviviality in public and urban spaces. If they are at all political, they are so because such conviviality is ever harder to sustain in the calamity of hopelessness that characterises so much politics today.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Public spaces, Palestinian refugees, Beirut, Corniche, beaches, pleasure, politics, conviviality
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
ISSN: 02637758
Copyright Statement: © The Author(s) 2015. This is the accepted version of an article published by SAGE in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space Vol. 34 (4), 583-600. Published version available from:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2016 09:48
Funders: British Academy

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