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Will the real Palestinian peasantry please sit down? Towards a new history of British rule in Palestine, 1917-1936

Anderson, Charles (2015) Will the real Palestinian peasantry please sit down? Towards a new history of British rule in Palestine, 1917-1936. LSE Middle East Centre paper series (10). Middle East Centre, LSE, London, UK.

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This paper surveys the history of peasant and rural resistance to colonial rule, policies, and law in British Palestine before 1936. Although the Arab countryside and its inhabitants have often received minimal or dismissive treatment in much of the scholarly literature, the study argues that rural Arab struggles against political, social and economic dispossession were integral to the history of British Palestine. Peasant agency and unrest broadly shaped relations between the Arab population and the colonial state and played an important part in forging the rebellious course of the Palestinian national movement in the 1930s. Animated by the struggle to stay on the land and to reject their political and economic marginalisation, peasants and Bedouin resisted the colonial order and its agenda of supporting the Zionist project in both quotidian and spectacular fashions. At the everyday scale, they flouted or blunted British attempts to ‘reform’ the land regime, while more episodically they rose up in armed or violent insurrections. The British regime responded to the latter through collective punishment, which especially after 1929 came to increasingly characterise its approach to rural discontent and to the Palestinians writ large. As socioeconomic conditions worsened for the rural Arab majority during the first two decades of British rule (1917-36), the restive current that developed in the countryside helped to radicalise the Palestinian national movement while also bringing to the fore class tensions within Arab society. This set of relations culminated in the major peasant-led uprising known as the Great Revolt (1936-39) and the ensuing military suppression of Palestinian society and its independence movement.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The Author
Divisions: Middle East Centre
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2015 16:40
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 12:07

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