Tracing Settler Colonialism: A Genealogy of a Paradigm in the Sociology of Knowledge Production in Israel

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Knowledge is inextricably bound to power in the context of settler colonialism where apprehension of the Other is a tool of domination. Tracing the development of the “settler colonial” paradigm, this article deconstructs Zionist and Israeli dispossession of Palestinian land and sovereignty, applying the sociology of knowledge production to the study of the Israeli-Palestinian case. The settler colonial paradigm, linked to Israeli critical sociology, post-Zionism, and postcolonialism, reemerged following changes in the political landscape from the mid-1990s that reframed the history of the Nakba as enduring, challenged the Jewish definition of the state, and legitimated Palestinians as agents of history. Palestinian scholars in Israel lead the paradigm’s reformulation. This article offers a phenomenology of Palestinian positionality, a critical potential for decolonizing the settler colonial structure and exclusive Jewish sovereignty, to consolidate a field of study that shapes not only research into the Israeli-Palestinian case but approaches to decolonization and liberation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)44-83
Number of pages40
JournalPolitics and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Israel/Palestine
  • Palestinians in Israel
  • decolonization
  • indigenous
  • settler colonialism
  • sociology of knowledge

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations


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