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Title: Visual activism in Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories and Gaza
Author: Bratchford, Gary
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 5837
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2016
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How has the political visibility of Palestinians within the occupied West Bank and Gaza been constructed and managed by the Israeli occupation? How has the management of the Israeli field of vision and the distribution of Palestinian visibility shaped who can be seen, how and from what position? Focusing on the politics of visibility within Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including Gaza in a post-Second Intifada period (2005-2014), the thesis examines how anti-occupation activists employ visual digital technologies and online communication platforms to make the occupation, and its effect upon Palestinians, more visible to Israelis and international spectators. Concentrating on the collaborative nonviolent action between Palestinians, Israelis and international visual activists, the thesis identifies how antioccupation artists, activists and organizations have worked to creatively challenge the established regimes of visibility within Israel/Palestine. Taking into consideration the potential of new media technologies as a means of producing, enhancing and/or sharing a critically engaged perspective on the occupation, each chapter will highlight different collaborative processes undertaken in an effort to challenge the visual management of the occupation by the Israeli military and government. This study draws upon recent literature that prioritises the relationship between vision, visibility, power and social theory (Brighenti, 2010) and the politics of visibility in Israel/Palestine (Hochburg, 2015; Faulkner, 2014) to present visual activism as meaningful way of widening the space in which politics can be conceived, performed and represented. After situating the thesis in an appropriate context between visual culture and the politics of visibility, the thesis explores how visibility is structured around varying regimes that differ from context to context and are formed around a number of political, military and social mechanisms. Thereafter the four core chapters will examine how visual activism has been employed within the West Bank and Gaza, highlighting a range of geographical, social and political complexities that underpin the specific conditions of each case study. The first case study highlights how social media and various online platforms can be mobilized in an effort to raise awareness of an event to an international audience, namely the Bedouin village of Susiya and their campaign to remain on their lands. In this regard, visual activism is considered as a visibility making tool that is networked and multi platform. Moreover, the case of Susiya outlines the problematic nature of ‘creating the right image’ as well as attesting to how lesser considered images might have the most effect when circulated online. The second case study explores how the Internet was used successfully as a strategic tool to maximize the visibility of nonviolent resistance within the Village of Bil’in for a largely international audience. While the third case study identifies how visual activism and new media technologies can be imbedded within the act of protest as a means of enhancing and defining the visual outcome. Lastly, case study four reflects on the 2014 Israeli military operation in Gaza, commonly referred to as Operation Protective Edge, as a way to delineate the range of conditions related to the military occupation over Palestinian territories and the creative ways visual activism has worked to overcome these conditions in a very specific political space. The thesis examines and applies visual activism as a means of highlighting Palestinian visibility and the Palestinian struggle against the occupation through nonviolent, creative action. Distributed online, these collective efforts have been conceived for an internationally sympathetic audience rather than exclusively for Palestinian or Israeli web-users.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available