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

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The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank explores the manner in which the Palestinian Authority’s performative acts affect and shape the lives and subjective identities of those in its vicinity in the occupied West Bank. The nature of Palestinians’ statelessness has to contend with the rituals of statecraft that the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its Palestinian functionaries engage in. These rituals are also economically maintained by an international donor community and are vehemently challenged by Palestinian activists, antagonistic to the prevalence of the statist agenda in Palestine.

Conceptually, the understanding of the PA’s ‘theater of statecraft’ is inspired by Judith Butler’s conception of performativity as one that encompasses several repetitive and ritual performative acts. The authors explore what they refer to as the ‘fuzzy state' (personified in the form and conduct of the PA) looks like for those living it, from the vantage point of PA institutions, NGOs, international representative offices, and activists. Methodologically, the book adopts an ethnographic approach, by way of interviews and observations in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank makes an important and long-due intervention by integrating performance studies and politics to suggest an understanding of the theatrics of woeful statecraft in Palestine. The book is an essential resource for students and scholars interested in the study of the state, International Relations and Politics, Palestine Studies, and the Middle East.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxon
Number of pages100
ISBN (Print)9781138567399
ISBN (Electronic)9781315124285
Publication statusPublished - 2019
SeriesRoutledge Studies in Middle Eastern Democratization and Government

Bibliographical note

Michelle Pace is Professor (MSO) at Roskilde University’s Department of Social Sciences and Business. She is also Honorary Professor in Politics and International Studies at the University of Birmingham in the UK. Her research areas of interest include migration studies, memory studies, and emotions in IR.

Somdeep Sen is a postdoctoral researcher at Roskilde University. His research centers on spatial politics, settler colonialism, postcolonialism, and migration in the Middle East and Europe. He has published on the Israeli–Palestinian ‘conflict’ and co-edited a volume on Syrian refugee children’s journeys in exile (Routledge, 2018)


  • state
  • Statelessness
  • Palestine
  • West Bank
  • Gaza
  • Israel
  • international community
  • civil society
  • NGOs
  • Palestinian Authority
  • occupation
  • settler colonialism
  • Performance Studies
  • Politics
  • political actors
  • ethnography
  • international politics
  • donor countries
  • state building
  • freedom
  • human rights
  • Palestinian politics
  • statehood
  • performance
  • political theatrics
  • national liberation
  • struggle
  • theatrical machinery
  • Oslo accords
  • sovereignty
  • emotions
  • political prisoners
  • tragedy
  • self-determination
  • interest
  • allies
  • European Union (EU)
  • Oslo at 25

    Michelle Pace (Speaker), Ilan Pappe (Speaker), Richard Dalton (Speaker), Claire Short (Speaker), Clayton Swisher (Speaker), Alaa Tartir (Speaker), Amelia Smith (Speaker), Nadia Naser-Najjab (Speaker), Stephanie Latte Abdallah (Speaker), Kammel Hawwash (Speaker), Karen Abu Zayd (Speaker), Omar Dajani (Speaker), David Hearst (Speaker), Virginia Tilley (Speaker), Jeremy Wildeman (Speaker), Wadah Khanfar (Speaker) & Jamal Khashoggi (Speaker)

    29 Sep 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganisation and participation in conference

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