Cover of Struggling for Time by Natalia Gutkowski
Struggling for Time
Environmental Governance and Agrarian Resistance in Israel/Palestine
Natalia Gutkowski


May 2024
336 pages.
from $30.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503636828
Paperback ISBN: 9781503637726
Ebook ISBN: 9781503637733

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Struggling for Time examines how time is used as a mechanism of control by the Israeli state and a site of mundane resistance among Palestinian agriculture professionals. Natalia Gutkowski unpacks power structures to show how a settler society lays moral claim on indigenous time through agrarian environmental policies, science, technologies, landscapes, and bureaucracy. Shifting the analysis of Israel/Palestine from land and space to time, she offers new insight into the operation of power in agrarian environments and develops a contemporary framework to understand land and resource grabs under temporal justifications.

Traveling across both policymaking arenas and Palestinian citizens' agrarian fields, Gutkowski follows the multiple ways that state officials, agronomists, planners, environmentalists, and agriculturalists use time as a tool of collective agency. Through investigations of wetland drainage in Galilee, transformations in olive agriculture, sustainable agrarian development, and regulation of the shmita biblical commandment, the "year of release" for agricultural fields, this work highlights how Palestinian citizens' agriculture has become a site for the state to settle and mediate time conflicts to justify its existence. As Struggling for Time demonstrates, time politics will take on ever greater urgency as societies and governments plan for an uncertain future in our era of climate change.

About the author

Natalia Gutkowski is a Researcher at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

"In this pathbreaking book, Natalia Gutkowski takes time as seriously as space/land for understanding the often-invisible governance tactics of the Israeli state and the wrenching problems faced daily by Palestinians. Struggling for Time reveals new avenues for hope, imagining better ways forward to a more just future for all."

—Diana K. Davis, University of California, Davis

"Through its impressive multisited ethnography and historical analysis, Struggling for Time offers a fascinating analysis of transformations in Israeli agriculture policies as well as moving portraits of Palestinian agronomists and their complex relationship to their work and their land. The analytic of Israeli use of time as a means of dispossession is original and revealing."

—Amahl Bishara, Tufts University