From the river to the sea? : honour, identity and politics in historical and contemporary Palestinian rejectionism
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The present thesis seeks to understand and explain the rhetoric and behaviour of the rejectionist 'current' within the Palestinian national movement. It proceeds from the view that extant scholarship, primarily from within the fields of terrorism and security studies, has profoundly misunderstood rejectionist speech and behaviour by ignoring the explanatory capacity of Emic - the research subject's perception - as well as the influence of the sociocultural milieu within which rejectionism exists. The thesis proceeds to set up a 'socioculturally sensitive' analytical framework drawn from social identity theory, a heuristic, non-reductionist model for understanding group interaction and conflict. Emphasizing cultural norms and cues identified by anthropologists as salient in the eastern Mediterranean, the thesis suggests that the social value of honour, patron-client dynamics and a firmly entrenched group orientation must be significant elements of a model for understanding rejectionist behaviour. The main analytical narrative suggests that for reasons derived from ideology, patron-client relations and group dynamics, what has distinguished the rejectionists from the mainstream have been a qualitatively different set of preconditions for, and objectives of diplomatic negotiations. To the main rejectionist factions the goal of liberating Palestine has always been inextricably intertwined with the goal of restoring national honour; one without the other has been impossible and to claim otherwise would mean a depletion of factional and personal honour. To the rejectionists, there has never been any question of deviating from the fundamental goals - national recognition, repatriation, self-determination and independent statehood, not even for tactical reasons. This 'higher standard' likely derives from their structurally and politically subordinate position within the national movement, and the need to creatively enhance their own social status and appeal.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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