Charcoal Production in Palestinian villages - The Paradox of resistance to innovation driving rural development

Miriam Billig, Adam Badwan, Etty Ankona, Yaakov Anker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


An attempt to implement new charcoal-production technology in Palestinian villages in the West Bank, Jenin area, is examined in this research. The ‘retort’ system avoided air pollution associated with traditional kilns by recycling flue gases. The attempt was made against the backdrop of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and life under Israeli military rule. The study analyzes the relationship between supporters and opponents of the new technology and the moves leading to rural development. Based on a survey, in-depth interviews and field observations, the research identifies environmental, political, socio-cultural and economic interests, power relations and the interdependence between conflicting parties. The findings reveal the leading hamulas' (extended families) use of resistance tactics against the technology to preserve their dominant status within the socio-cultural structure, while traditional kiln usage was prevented by Israel. As a consequence, new strategies were adopted by various parties. Flexible negotiation led to an agreed resolution that opened new opportunities of social mobility and brought economic and environmental prosperity to the rural area. The study contributes to the resistance to innovation theory in traditional rural communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Air pollution
  • Charcoal production
  • Developing societies
  • Hamula
  • Innovation resistance
  • Israeli-palestinian conflict
  • Technology adoption


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