Busbridge, Rachel. “Performing Colonial Sovereignty and the Israeli ‘Separation’ Wall.” Social Identities, online preview, 2013.
As a structure that does not mark an actual border and is constructed primarily on occupied territory, the Israeli ‘separation’ wall is a unique space that functions as both border and borderlands. Here, I explore the wall as a performance of sovereignty which simultaneously constructs and de-constructs imaginings of the Israeli nation-state. On the one hand, I contend that the wall is a colonial production that draws a psychic line between a ‘civilised in here’ and ‘uncivilised out there’, fulfilling the double function of forging a perceived bounded, protective national enclosure at the same time as buttressing the necessity of controlling territory beyond the bounds of that enclosure. On the other hand, I argue that the complex relationship between settler and state materialised in the wall points to a blending of theology and politics in Israel, which threatens to empower a God-sanctioned politics that undermines state. In addition to promoting anxiety of the Palestinian ‘out there’, then, the wall is understood as also fostering an anxiety increasingly turned inward to the structures of the Israeli state itself.