Nonviolent Activism in the West Bank

Eva Juliane Buchhave, Louise Schou Drivsholm, Mette Finnemann & Silja Thøgersen

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


The West Bank has been under occupation since 1967. From the perspective of Giorgio Agamben (1998; 2005) the Palestinians have been assigned to elements of the state of exception and bare life, caused by political, legal, physical and economic constraints. According to Nancy Fraser’s (2008) theory these constraints result in misrepresentation, maldistribution and misrecognition within the West Bank society. The constraints limit nonviolent activism at multiple levels, including movement restrictions, restricted scope of legal power, economic inequalities and weak parliamentary support by the Palestinian Authority. The young population of the West Bank have grown up during the occupation, never knowing anything different. This has lead to a normalisation of violence and oppression, which have contributed to Julie Norman’s (2010) concept of activism fatigue. Activism fatigue refers to a decrease in nonviolent activism engagement in the West Bank. Fieldwork has shown that nonviolent organisations adapt to the constraints and the activism fatigue differently. Some organisations approach the lack of popular engagement and the constrained West Bank by turning to the international society and volunteers for assistance. This internationally oriented means are connected to Gene Sharp’s (1973b,c) concepts of political jiu-juitsu and protests and persuasion. Other nonviolent organisations address their nonviolent means internally within the West Bank, and make use of all of Sharp’s three categories of nonviolent methods: protest and persuasion, nonviolent noncooperation and nonviolent intervention. From Agamben’s (2005) perspective the Palestinian nonviolent activism operates under a state of exception, but according to Sharp (1973a) nonviolent activism depends on pluralistic relations of power in order to achieve profound change. New ways in nonviolent activism such as healing of traumas, education in nonviolence and approaching the international society could help strengthen a pluralistic West Bank society where nonviolent activism could enhance its potential. The West Bank is divided by physical and economic constraints, but alternative ways of activism regardless of resources might open a potential for a unification of the West Bank population.

UddannelserGlobal Studies, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor el. kandidat
Udgivelsesdato17 dec. 2013


  • West Bank
  • Nonviolent activism
  • Palestine
  • Activism Fatigue