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Polarized and DemobilizedLegacies of Authoritarianism in Palestine$
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Dana El Kurd

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190095864

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190095864.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 October 2021

De-Mobilizing a Mobilized Society

De-Mobilizing a Mobilized Society

(p.91) 4 De-Mobilizing a Mobilized Society
Polarized and Demobilized

Dana El Kurd

Oxford University Press

What impact does authoritarianism have on political mobilization? Despite high levels of mass mobilization in the past, Palestinian society today finds itself polarized and demobilized. Concurrently, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has gained control as a governing apparatus, and has become increasingly authoritarian in nature. But, the PA does not have complete control over the territories; its level of control varies based on the Oslo II/Interim Agreements of 1995. This variation in control (over a homogeneous population) allows us to isolate the effect of authoritarianism on mobilization patterns and social dynamics. Using an original dataset and a qualitative assessment of the PA's historical development, I find that mobilization has declined systematically in places where the Palestinian Authority has more direct control. Counter-intuitively, political mobilization today is actually more prevalent in areas under direct Israeli occupation. Findings suggest the PA has a direct role in this dynamic, using selective cooptation and repression. Overall, authoritarian strategies have inhibited social cohesion, and led to a decreased capacity for mobilization.

Keywords:   protest, political mobilization, Palestinian Authority, Oslo II, authoritarianism, Israeli occupation, social cohesion

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