New Article: Ben-Ze’ev, Civil Associations in Mandatory Haifa

Ben-Ze’ev, Na’ama. “Civil Associations in Mandatory Haifa: A New Perspective on Palestinian-Arab Political Life.” Middle Eastern Studies 49.6 (2013): 958-972.





The article explores the potential of local civil associations for the study of power relations within Palestinian society during the Mandate. It argues that civil associations substituted political institutions and procedures serving functions that, in a sovereign state, would have been fulfilled by governmental authorities. Civil society organizations enabled democratic elections, mobilizing popular support and the establishment of hegemonic structures. The discussion begins with a survey of organizations that may have inspired Palestinian civil associations, and then considers the rise of mass politics in Ottoman provinces and its consequences for civil associations. By examining two Arab civil associations established in Haifa during the British Mandate, the article shows how this framework served the political aspirations of individuals and groups from various social strata.

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