Reconstructing the Civic

Palestinian Civil Activism in Israel

By Amal Jamal

Subjects: Political Science, Israel Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Middle East Politics, Cultural Studies
Paperback : 9781438478722, 316 pages, January 2021
Hardcover : 9781438478715, 316 pages, August 2020

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Table of contents

Graphs and Tables

1. Introduction

2. The Theoretical Framing of Civic Activism: A Critical Appraisal

3. Civic Activism, Minority Politics, and National Conflicts

4. Political Culture and Civil Society: Relevant Lessons from the Arab World

5. Neoliberal Nationalism and Civil Society in Israel

6. Transformations in the PCI, the Emerging New Elite, and Civic Activism

7. Palestinian CSOization, Active Citizenship, and the Politics of Contention

8. Public Trust and Social Capital in Palestinian Civic Activism in Israel

9. Civil Engagement, Social Responsibility, and Political Empowerment

10. Civic Engagement and the Democratic Argument

11. CSOization, Democratization, Empowerment, and Development

Epilogue and Future Prospects

Explores the civic activism of the Palestinian minority in Israel for a better understanding of the relationship between civic activism and democratization in ethnic states.


Reconstructing the Civic examines the civic activism of the homeland Palestinian minority in Israel. Employing a multi-methodological and empirically rich approach, Amal Jamal blends historical description with interviews of Palestinian elites drawn from a diverse range of civil society groups such as NGOs, youth movements, and religious organizations. He also critiques the failure of Western/liberal scholarship to account for the experience of minority civil society organizations in illiberal social and political contexts, largely because this literature assumes there is an inherent relationship between civil society and democracy. Jamal places an important spotlight on the complex interplay between liberal and illiberal trends in the emergence, organization, and transformation of Palestinian civil society in Israel as well as the need to introduce an alternative ethical model that aims to reconstruct ethnic states in universal civic terms.

Amal Jamal is Associate Professor of Political Science and Political Communication at Tel Aviv University and the author of Arab Minority Nationalism in Israel: The Politics of Indigeneity.


"…the volume enriches the academic literature on minority societies in nation-states in general and Arab society in Israel in particular and is essential reading for anyone interested in these subjects. Covering a broad range of Israeli political aspects and discussing one of the most prominent trends that has shaped Arab civil life in Israel in recent years, it adds a further brick to the scholarly study of the distinctive nature of the Arab minority in Israel and how the latter deals with the challenges arising from existing as a minority within a nation-state." — Israel Studies Review

"This book is the first of its kind and a valuable contribution to both the study of the Palestinians in Israel and for understanding the construction of civil society. Jamal provides a very thorough and comprehensive look into a major socio-political occurrence. Most existing studies of civil society worldwide do not deal with cases of subjugated ethno-national groups in conflict, and there is a particular theoretical interest in this case." — Tamir Sorek, author of Palestinian Commemoration in Israel: Calendars, Monuments, and Martyrs