Place as a source of identity in colonizing societies: Israeli settlements in Gaza

Izhak Schnell*, Shaul Mishal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The tendency to reduce the role of places in the formation of sociospatial identities and to emphasize the impact of sociopolitical structures on place making is growing. We argue that, under certain conditions, places may become salient sources of identity formation. In addition, we suggest viewing different types of places on a continuum from mythical "big places," to everyday-life places, to parochial "little places." We further suggest a distinction between mythical and everyday-life senses of place. Following Zali Gurevitz, who describes the characteristics of West Bank Jewish settlers' mythical sense of place, we demonstrate how Gaza settlers only partially internalized their conception of place, adopting an everyday-life conception of thereof. Yet place became a main source of identity for Gaza settlers, who viewed their experience in the settlements as an empowering process that helped them escape their marginality and join the national elite.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-259
Number of pages18
JournalGeographical Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Everyday-life place
  • Mythical place
  • Senses of place
  • West Bank and Gaza settlers


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