Constructing modern identity – new patterns of leisure and recreation in mandatory Palestine

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This article explores the cultural transformation that unfolded in urban centres in Palestine during the British Mandate period. Focusing on the city of Haifa as a case study, the article sheds light on how imperial colonial interests prompted massive development of the city that triggered significant cultural changes. The article examines the ways in which different groups in Palestinian-Arab society were involved, and how they initiated, experienced and reacted to the cultural shifts. The rapid increase in the number of cafés, cabarets, bars and restaurants constituted the cornerstone of the commercial entertainment industry in Haifa during this period. By delineating the emergence of new entertainment patterns and recreation habits, the article shows how leisure became a central component in the daily lives of varied social groups. It argues that leisure played a major role as an agent of modernisation and functioned as an essential site for the construction of modern personhoods in Palestinian society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-90
Number of pages16
JournalContemporary Levant
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


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