Panel Discusses Power, Development and Fieldwork

The Birzeit University Center for Development Studies held on October 13, 2014 a panel discussion entitled, "Development Power: Learning from the Field," to conclude the three-year project, “Conflict, Participation and Development in Palestine."

The panel discussion focused on three main themes: field work after the recent Israeli aggression on Gaza, fieldwork experiences in Palestine and manifestations of power in development.

The first session on field research in Gaza, featuring speakers Tayseer Muhaisen, a researcher, and the director of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees in the Gaza Strip. Muhaisen presented a description of realities on the ground after the war from the developmental perspective, pointing to the challenges facing fieldwork in the Gaza Strip.

The second session focused on the experiences of field researchers, emphasizing the quality of training and the new ideas that link fieldwork and research experiences, among them the project’s emphasis on volunteerism.

The final session discussed how power manifests itself in development practices. Professor Lina Mia’ri spoke about conceptual and standardization issues in development practices, followed by University of Vienna professor Helmut Gregg, who  talked about foreign aid and recurrent economic crises in Palestine. Finally, professor Samia Butmeh talked about neo-liberal discourse in development, using the trade model as an example.

The project “Conflict, Participation and Development in Palestine" was implemented together with the University of Vienna department of development studies.

For more information on the project, go to