The Struggle of State-Building in Palestine: Exploring "State-less"-Society Relations in the West Bank

Project: Research

Project Details


In his seminal work Strong Societies and Weak States, Joel Migdal (1988: 15) argues that, “for those of us in the West, the state has been part of our natural landscape. Its presence, its authority, its place behind so many rules that fashion the minutiae of our lives, have all been so pervasive that it is difficult for us to imagine the situation being otherwise.” This project aims to shed light on precisely the situation where a state is not in sight – the struggle of state-building in Palestine and its impact on stateless-society relations in the West Bank (WB), a problem area that thus far remains under-researched. We aim to fill this gap through a thorough literature review of the existing debates on state-society relations and intensive fieldwork in the WB. Our analysis will build on our engagement with the ongoing literature and will create state of the art knowledge in this field (see below).
Effective start/end date01/01/201631/12/2018


  • Wellcome Trust: €32,690.77


  • Palestine
  • weak pseudo states
  • strong societies
  • state-building
  • stateless-society relations
  • West Bank
  • performativity
  • Palestinian Authority
  • theatrical machinery
  • norms
  • international law

Research Output

  • 3 Journal article
  • 1 Book
  • 1 Book chapter
  • 1 Net publication - Internet publication

The Governance Deficit in the Middle East Region

Pace, M., 2019, Routledge Handbook on Middle East Security. Jägerskog, A., Schulz, M. & Swain, A. (eds.). London: Routledge, p. 276-285 10 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank: The Theatrics of Woeful Statecraft

Pace, M. & Sen, S., 2019, Oxon: Routledge. 100 p. (Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern Democratization and Government).

Research output: Book/ReportBook

The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank: The Theatrics of Woeful Statecraft. Jadaliyya interview with authors Pace and Sen: NEW TEXTS OUT NOW

Pace, M. & Sen, S., 22 Jul 2019, 1 p. ASI (Arab Studies Institute) : Jadaliyya.

Research output: Other contributionNet publication - Internet publicationResearchpeer-review

Open Access

Norway's ambiguous approach towards Israel and Palestine: Forum: The occupation of Palestinian territories since 1967: an analysis of Europe’s role

Pace, M., 10 Aug 2018, In : Global Affairs. 4, 1, p. 65-76 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Open Access


Book Launch: The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank: The Theatrics of Woeful Statecraft

Michelle Pace (Speaker), & Somdeep Sen (Speaker)

29 Aug 2019

Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution

Anis Nacrour

Michelle Pace (Host)

1 Feb 2019

Activity: Hosting a visitorHosting an academic visitor

Living Memories

Michelle Pace (Speaker)

4 May 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

State University of New York (SUNY) Press (Publisher)

Michelle Pace (Peer reviewer)

14 Sep 2018

Activity: Editorial work and peer reviewPeer review of manuscriptsResearch

Press / Media

How credible are Saudi’s Khashoggi claims?

Michelle Pace


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media