Palestinian University Students Narrating Life Under Occupation

Phoenix, Aisha. 2016. Palestinian University Students Narrating Life Under Occupation. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

While Palestine is one of the most contested areas of the world, this thesis argues that the complexities of Palestinian narratives are rarely fully heard. It documents how Palestinian university students narrate their lives under occupation for a foreign audience, arguing that motivations for participating in the research affected the narratives shared. Some argued that they were resisting the illegal Israeli occupation by taking part and sharing stories designed to encourage an international audience to oppose it. Others condemned foreign intervention and constructed Muslim resistance as essential for Palestinian liberation. The thesis shows how participants constructed place in the interviews in ways that strengthened the messages they sought to convey and it explores the precarity in their accounts of how they negotiate the threat of imprisonment and death at the hands of the Israeli army. It argues that participants drew on historical claims to Palestine to emphasise their belonging to the land and steadfastness in order to appeal for international support for their cause, or to explain their desire to ‘wipe out’ the State of Israel. The thesis examines the accounts of students who argue that the occupation is pushing young Palestinians to want to leave Palestine and those who said they wanted to leave. It argues that they underline the importance of ending the occupation. The empirical chapters conclude by exploring how the participants expressed their desires for the future, arguing that some pinned their hopes on international support, some drew hope from their religious beliefs, while others saw Palestinian activism as the only way to achieve their goals. The thesis concludes that the participants’ narratives of resistance were more important as a means of them ‘getting by’ and continuing to remain steadfast than they were an effective means of working towards bringing an end to the occupation.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Palestine, Students, University, Occupation, Narratives, Muslim

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



30 April 2016

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

13 May 2016 15:55

Last Modified:

12 Sep 2022 14:05


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