How Diplomatic Practices Make The Fuzzy State of Palestine Visible

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Building on the iconic work of Timothy Mitchell and his focus on questions of representation, this chapter lays the groundwork for how the notion of a ‘fuzzy’ state of Palestine is constituted. The theoretical basis of fuzziness is anchored in Fuzzy Set Theory (FST) which originates from anthropology and specifically the work of Lotfi Zadeh. For Zadeh FST infers “a theory in which everything is a matter of degree or … everything has elasticity”. With this in mind and firstly, the modalities of diplomacy are established. These refer to the manner in which diplomatic practices make the fuzziness of a Palestinian state visible or how diplomats spread the notion to wider audiences. Second, the manner in which diplomatic narratives sustain a fictitious notion of a Palestinian state is examined. Third, attention is drawn to policies that prevent a Palestinian state from emerging. In conclusion, a taxonomy of the three strategies used for this purpose is drawn up: a hegemonic and Western strategy, a regional strategy and an internal strategy – that constitutes the key explanatory factors for why the continued performance of a Palestinian state frames a reality which it is not and yet also is. For this purpose, I add to Mitchell Iver B. Neumann’s work on diplomatic practices and the preconditions for those actions to critically investigate the ways in which the fuzziness of Palestine is represented and sustained.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAltered States : The Remaking of the Political in the Arab World
EditorsSune Haugbølle, Mark LeVine
Place of PublicationAbingdon
ISBN (Print)9781032134093
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 22 Mar 2021
SeriesRoutledge Studies in Middle Eastern Democratization and Government


  • diplomacy
  • diplomatic practices
  • fuzziness
  • fuzzy
  • state
  • state building
  • Palestine

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