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“Where Is the Palestinian Gandhi?”: Power and Resistance in Late Modernity

posted on 2023-09-07, 05:09 authored by Timothy Seidel

“Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?” This question has been posed as outside observers survey both what appears to be an intractable conflict in Palestine-Israel as well as what they see as the predominance of Palestinian violence as either cause of and/or response to Israeli military domination of Palestinian territory. The implication is that if there was a Palestinian leader who could lead a mass program of nonviolent direct action—like Gandhi performed in British colonial controlled India—Palestinians could finally be successful in ending Israeli military occupation and realizing their national dreams of political self-determination in the establishment of a state. This dissertation examines and problematizes the “Palestinian Gandhi” question and the discourse that produces it by identifying and exploring the contours of alternative Palestinian discourses of resistance—what I refer to as discourses of “political economies of resistance” and “transnational solidarities and resistance.” By exploring these discourses, this dissertation addresses the problematic of representing political agency or subjectivity in areas of conflict and violence, in this case Palestine in the post-Oslo era (2000-present). Drawing particularly from discourse and postcolonial theory, this dissertation is an inquiry into the discursive construction and obfuscation of Palestinian political subjectivity by examining narratives and practices of nonviolence and resistance in and about Palestine—how certain forms of resistance are identified while other forms are obscured. Framed in the context of International Relations and Peacebuilding theory and practice, this dissertation gives greater attention to the constitutive role of marginalized people in the production of concepts and practices of resistance arguing that this could help us identify overlooked and seemingly everyday practices that have implications for peacebuilding policy and practice.







Degree Awarded: Ph.D. School of International Service. American University.; Electronic thesis available to American University authorized users only, per author's request.


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American University. School of International Service

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  • Doctoral

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