The Revolution Within: State Institutions and Unarmed Resistance in Palestine (CUP, 2019)
Anti-regime movements require mass participation to succeed. Yet, even in successful campaigns, most individuals do not participate. Why do some individuals participate in risky, anti-regime resistance whereas other similar individuals abstain? The Revolution Within answers this question through an in-depth study of participation in unarmed resistance against Israeli rule in the Palestinian Territories over more than a decade. Despite having strong anti-regime sentiment, Palestinians initially lacked the internal organizational strength often seen as necessary for protest. This book provides a foundation for understanding participation and mobilization under these difficult conditions. Its main argument is that, under these conditions, integration into state institutions – schools, prisons and courts – paradoxically makes individuals more likely to resist against the state. Diverse evidence collected during twelve months of field research – including the first large-scale survey of participants and non-participants in Palestinian resistance, Arabic-language interviews, and archival sources – supports the argument. The book’s findings explain how anti-regime resistance can occur even without the strong civil society organizations often regarded as necessary for protest and, thus, suggest new avenues for supporting civil resistance movements.
2019. "From the Schools to the Streets: Education and Anti-Regime Resistance in the West Bank" Comparative Political Studies 52(8): 1131-1168. [Appendix]
2017. "Recognition Matters! UN State Status and Attitudes Towards Territorial Compromise" (with Nadav G. Shelef). The Journal of Conflict Resolution 61(3): 537-563. [Appendix]
*Media coverage: OpenGlobalRights
2016. "The Effects of Authoritarian Iconography: An Experimental Test" (with Sarah Bush, Aaron Erlich and Lauren Prather). Comparative Political Studies 49(13): 1704-1738 . [Appendix]
*Media coverage: Marginal Revolution, The Monkey Cage, PsyPost
OTHER WORKING PAPERS AND PROJECTS
International recognition and support for violence among nonpartisans" (with Nadav G. Shelef, under review)
What reduces individual support for the use of violence in self-determination conflicts? We advance and test a new explanation - international recognition - for changes in popular support for violence using a survey experiment centered around the 2012 UNGA recognition of Palestine as a state. We argue that international recognition can reduce support for violence by conveying new information that shifts the expected payoffs of using violent and nonviolent strategies. This information substantially reduces support for violence among a key segment of the population, nonpartisans, who have weaker prior beliefs about the use of violence than partisans. This article deepens the incorporation of party politics into the comparative study of conflict and demonstrates that international diplomatic engagement can reduce popular support for violence in an ongoing conflict. This is important because most previously identified drivers of support for violence are either very difficult to change or change very slowly.
The Ethnicization of Syria’s Conflict: A Social Media Analysis (with Alexandra Siegel and Deen Freelon) Ethnic conflicts are often seen as especially violent and intractable. Yet, how and why do some conflicts become “ethnic”? This project studies this question by collecting and analyzing original social media data from the ongoing conflict in Syria. Drawing on new, geo-referenced Twitter data from the Syrian conflict, including an original measure of ethno-sectarian rhetoric, we analyze how elite entrepreneurship, exposure to violence, and demography affect the spread of sectarianism on and offline. By analyzing the real-time adoption of sectarian frames and narratives of the Syria conflict online, we illuminate how such understandings become prevalent and, therefore, the factors driving the “ethnicization” of conflict more generally.