Medicine as a Tactic of War: Palestinian Precarity

Rosengarten, Marsha and Pfingst, Annie. 2012. Medicine as a Tactic of War: Palestinian Precarity. Body & Society, 18(3-4), pp. 99-125. ISSN 1357-034X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This photo-essay highlights the ways in which medicine features in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and uses it to reflect on the nature of ethical obligation set out by Judith Butler in her work on state-achieved precarity. Although medical infrastructure of even the most basic type is tragically lacking and in some areas shockingly absent in the OPT, it is the particular way in which medicine comes to be needed that we focus on. Leaving aside the rhetoric that has claimed authority over what can or cannot be said of the Occupation, we focus on its geo-technological arrangements. By placing photos and case studies of medical obstruction within an analysis of the Occupation, we forge an encounter between reader and the Occupation to raise questions about the use of medicine in this context and the manner in which conventional ethics can give legitimacy to this use. On the basis of what we show through visual and textual documentary material, we propose ethics be understood as inherent to the geo-technological arrangements that make life possible or, as in this case, undermine, obstruct or deliberately take life. Hence the ethical obligation that Butler calls upon is reiterated in ways that encompass the everyday features of Occupation including those active in the emergence of medicine as a tactic of war.

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Identification Number (DOI):


ambulance, apprehension, ethics, medicine, Occupied Palestinian Territories

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Centre for Study of Invention and Social Process (CSISP) [2003-2015]


September 2012Published

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Date Deposited:

28 May 2012 15:03

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:33

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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