technical paper

AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

"I have a dream": Dissent and agency of abandonment





My research focuses on the perception of political action and sovereignty of Israeli-Jews, who, following their dissent over Israel's control over Palestine, have exiled themselves from Israel and moved abroad or to Palestinian localities in the West-Bank. One of my main research questions was to understand the way these Israelis narrate their withdrawal from the State of Israel in light of their political involvement before their departure. I have chosen the term "withdrawal" in order to highlight a lacuna in the anthropological literature in which there seems to be no clear distinction between the terms resistance and dissent, asking, whether withdrawal from the state or self-exile is an act of resistance or dissent? This talk will focus on these questions. Following Tobias Kelly's suggestion (2019) to think through dissent while focusing on its particular history, forms of agency, personhood, and change, and Laura Ahearn's (2001) call to distinguish between different kinds of agency- I will introduce a new type of agency- agency of abandonment. By proposing this type of agency, I will differentiate between dissent and resistance, defining dissent as describing actions and emotions of alienation, estrangement, and reluctance from state policy or ideology. Dissent does not necessarily result in classical political action in the form of collective actions and claims for societal change, it can be expressed through individual evasive actions. This perspective can help us uncover and understand the type of agency, the line of thought, the state of mind, the affects and the actions, associated with dissent.


Transcript English (automatic)

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