Politics beyond representation? The al Aqsa Intifada and the late modern subject of colonial occupation

PhD Thesis

Junka-Aikio, Laura Orvokki 2010. Politics beyond representation? The al Aqsa Intifada and the late modern subject of colonial occupation. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Humanities and Social Sciences
AuthorsJunka-Aikio, Laura Orvokki
TypePhD Thesis

Instead of representing collective political empowerment, the second Palestinian uprising, the al Aqsa Intifada, generally foregrounds the fragmentation of the Palestinian national movement and the de-democratisation and militarisation of Palestinian resistance. Although the perceived crisis of the Palestinian national movement has generated a wealth of research and political analyses, existing research on the al Aqsa Intifada tends to be policy oriented or governed by the paradigm of nationalism. Critical reflection on the very framework within which the 'crisis' of intifada is identified and examined remains surprisingly rare. Addressing this gap in scholarship, the present thesis critically assesses the role that hegemonic discourses of the al Aqsa Intifada might have in its current production as a crisis, and expands the theoretical and conceptual framework within which politics in Palestine might be examined and explored. Drawing on Foucault's theorisations of the subject and on Lyotard's philosophy of the differend, the research argues that rather than being seen as a crisis of Palestinian political subjectivity and nationalism per se, the al Aqsa Intifada needs to be understood as a crisis of representation, one calling for new ways of understanding, conceptualising and representing politics and political subjectivity in Palestine. Towards this end, the thesis suggests an alternative analytical approach that explores the crisis of the al Aqsa Intifada in relation to the wider political problematic of postcolonial late modernity and centres on a notion of the late modem subject of colonial occupation. This approach expands the conceptual and theoretical framework of Palestine studies beyond the discourses of anticolonial nationalism and contributes to a more complex and nuanced understanding of the subject, resistance, and the politics of representation in Palestine.

KeywordsPolitical empowerment; Al Aqsa Intifada; Palestinian national movement
Publication dates
PrintOct 2010
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Sep 2013
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