Immersive invisibility in the settler‐colonial city

The conditional inclusion of Palestinians in Tel Aviv

by ANDREAS HACKL

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The inclusion of indigenous people into settler‐colonial cities is often highly conditional. For middle‐class Palestinian citizens of Israel in Tel Aviv, the invisibility of their ethnonational identity is a precondition for their access to the city's neoliberal economy and “liberal” lifestyle. To increase their mobility and socioeconomic opportunities, they employ diverse tactics of immersive invisibility. Some, in hopes of overcoming their stigmatized identity, aspire to be recognized as unmarked individuals and successful professionals. Although immersive invisibility does not change settler‐colonial exclusion, it determines how much individuals can achieve within existing parameters. Tactics of immersive invisibility do not necessarily enable one to transcend categorical difference and racialized exclusion, but they reveal how neoliberal inclusion and the settler‐colonial politics of exclusion become entangled and constitute each other.