Hamas and the Destruction of Risk Society
Constellations Volume 12, No 4, 2005
19 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2006 Last revised: 16 Feb 2014
In this paper we employ risk theory to examine key social processes that have been unfolding in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since the outbreak of the second Intifada. Using the Palestinian health services as a case study, we argue that the system of securities in the Occupied Territories has collapsed and that endemic uncertainty currently informs Palestinian society. This, in turn, has led to a radical transformation of the very rationality of risk society, which is being supplanted by a different rationality more susceptible to the Hamas. We accordingly claim that risk theory helps explain Hamas's ascendancy. Simultaneously, we argue that the destruction of Palestinian risk society actually exposes a social process that has been neglected in the risk literature. While risk scholars emphasize the impossibility of calculating certain risks due to global processes, our case study suggests that an increasing number of local processes are also making it impossible to calculate risks. Whereas global processes are more or less indiscriminate regarding the populations they affect, we maintain that local processes that produce uncertainty are created and used to "target" particular populations. Whereas historically their has been an intentional attempt to make risk calculable in order to advance political objectives, our case study suggests that currently risks are intentionally being rendered incalculable in order to advance new objectives, not least of which are the restriction of political action and the dramatic curtailment of the public domain.
Keywords: Hamas, Risk Theory, Health Care, Israel, Palestine, Occupation
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