Dr Michelle Obeid

Lecturer in Social Anthropology

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Research interests

Keywords: postwar sociality; livelihoods; state and borders; kinship and gender; mobility, displacement and home

My research has sought to understand the ways in which people figure out how to live in the aftermath of social rupture. This broad question has framed the two main research projects that I have been involved in.

My first project focused on postwar sociality in a Lebanese town at the northeastern Lebanese/Syrian border where I explored how residents experienced and engaged with what they were calling ‘changing times’ in the aftermath of Lebanon’s civil war (1975-1990). I followed the social processes, institutions, and practices that the residents felt had changed most since the outbreak of the war. My research interlaces large-scale socio-economic and political changes at the border with people’s intimate lives, thus showing how shifts in livelihoods, reconfigurations of family, new ideologies about domesticity, piety, love and marriage are all inseparable from state-society relations and the specific regional history of the northeastern border of Lebanon with Syria. As a result of this work, I published a number of book chapters and journal articles and have written a manuscript entitled Border Lives: An Ethnography of a Lebanese Town in Changing Times.

My second project focuses on a Palestinian family displaced during the 2008 Gaza War and their experiences in creating a new home in London. My research is interested in the different trajectories of settling and how these shape everyday practices that create a sense of holding fast in otherwise fluid times and places. By examining these migrants’ life projects, how they embedded themselves in their neighbourhoods, engaged in multicultural activities and negotiated their legal entitlements with state officials, my research explores how new migrants anchor themselves in new social worlds and the part they play in shaping those worlds. I was awarded the BA/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowships 2018, which will support me in completing my manuscript entitled Migrants in Anchorage: an Ethnography of Palestinians in London.





Research and projects

No current projects are available for public display