Genealogies of Conflict: Class, Identity, and State in Palestine/Israel and South Africa

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Genealogies of Conflict: Class, Identity, and State in Palestine/Israel and South Africa

By Ran Greenstein
University Press Of New England, 1995
307 pp. $40.00
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Why have two similar conflicts between colonizers and indigenous peoples led to disparate solutions of national self- determination and political incorporation? This study, comparing Palestine and South Africa from colonization until 1948, provides an answer. Jewish settlers, moved to immigrate by strong nationalistic motives, excluded Palestinian Arabs from Jewish economic and social structures. Relatively unified and economically sophisticated, Arabs maintained enough independence to envision, and eventually exact, political autonomy. Engaging heterogeneous communities, colonization in South Africa proved more complex. The settler-controlled state forced Africans into the white-managed labor market, creating segregationist incorporation -- the social and political exclusion of indigenous people despite their integral economic inclusion. Fragmented and dependent, Africans could only demand equal incorporation. A broad introduction, the book tends to overemphasize indigenous peoples' power but convincingly demonstrates that a historical understanding of the two societies requires an analysis of subordinate groups and the interaction of economics, identity, and politics.

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