A fate beyond homeland: Israelis and Palestinians sans frontières
(Johns Hopkins University)
Paper short abstract:
Israel/Palestine constitutes a moiety, in the strict anthropological sense, but a possible intersubjective discourse in this moiety is locked within the doxa of the Israel/Palestine field. An odyssey to another doxa - another mode of living with other chances and serendipity - unlocks it.
Paper long abstract:
In the saga of the Israel/Palestine, it could be said that the main protagonist is the land itself. In a conflict that is inescapably about space and one's rootedness to it, the homeland dictates all possible discourses of the actors engaged with it. Using Pierre Bourdieu's theory of a field of doxa, an anthropological attempt to structure the regulation of all permissible and impermissible discourse in a society, no less than prophecy in biblical tradition or the oracle in Greek drama, my essay investigates two case studies of Israeli Jew/Palestinian Arab interactions outside the field of Israel/Palestine. What discursive possibilities do other doxas present? In both cases, the foreign doxa draws the subject away from a solipsistic view of Israel/Palestine and towards what Michael Taussig refers to as a view that is 'in the midst of the world...to exchange standing above the fray, the God position.' My essay puts forward two theories: One, that a possible intersubjective discourse is locked within the doxa of the Israel/Palestine field, which I treat as a moiety. An odyssey to another doxa, and serendipitous encounters with individuals and collective consciousnesses within it, unlocks it. Two, that anthropology's struggle to determine what is possible and impossible is in fact the same struggle as that of biblical and classical traditions in attempting to resolve the limits of human agency in the material world.
Destiny, fate, predestination: ethnographies of changing forms of political and intimate life