Loughborough University
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Transnational dissent: feeling, thinking, judging and the sociality of Palestinian solidarity activism

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posted on 2015-06-25, 14:03 authored by Brian Callan
This thesis examines the role emotions play in the practice and sociality of Palestinian solidarity activism in Israel and Palestine. It finds that emotion is a subtle and sophisticated, and often ambiguous, form of knowledge and perception which is implicit in forming, appraising and adjusting the relationships participants have with intimates, fellow dissenters and public discourses on identity and the regional conflict. Fieldwork was based in and around Jerusalem and carried out over twelve months in 2011-12. This is a highly diverse transnational field where Palestinians, Israelis and Internationalists come together at specific times and places to practice various forms of dissent, largely but not exclusively against the socio-political conditions of the Palestinians vis-à-vis Israeli State policy. I present three separate propositions on Weirdness, Wrongness and Love, which relate to three different affective dimensions; perception, morality and loyalty. Each proposition also develops upon what Hannah Arendt defined the innate political faculties or activities of the human condition; thinking, action and judging. The perceptive quality of finding something Weird is found to produce doubt in the subjective mind, the purpose for which Arendt believed thinking to be a political act. The moral appraisal that something is Wrong, underwrites concerted political action in the public realm. Finally judging, as the attempt to understand the world from the perspective of another, is facilitated by the discourse of Love in the long-term loving relations activists have with friend and family, who are antagonistic to the aims of solidarity activism. Taken together these feelings are found to flow through and inform one another, constituting a nuanced affective understanding and appraisal of our world, one that is producing and maintaining a politically engaged transnational community of dissent. This community has been fostered to a large degree by the insistence and perseverance of a small number of Palestinians in villages across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, who call upon peoples of all creeds, colours and places to witness and experience the repression of non-violent resistance. If as researchers we are to understand the complexities of human life and practices, I believe we must carefully attend to this sophisticated form of emotional reasoning and begin to think not just about feelings, but also with feelings.


Loughborough University



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


© Brian Callan

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


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