Emotionalising the israeli–palestinian conflict: On the civil society engagements of israeli mental health professionals in response to the palestinian uprisings

José Brunner, Galia Plotkin Amrami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article explores how Israeli mental health practitioners emotionalised the Israeli–Palestinian conflict by intervening in the public sphere. Based on a close reading of texts produced by two Israeli civil society associations of psy-professionals – Imut and Natal – we analyse and compare two languages of emotion that they developed in response to two Palestinian uprisings, the First Intifada of 1987–93 and the Al Aqsa Intifada of 2000–05. This allows us to point to differences and similarities in the ways these two associations articulated, conceptualised and represented emotions that they attributed to the Israeli-Jewish collective. Imut voiced a critical and openly political response to the outbreak of the First Intifada, while Natal adopted an ostensibly apolitical position that affirmed mainstream Israeli politics in response to the Al Aqsa Intifada. Though they differed in their politics, both Imut and Natal emotionalised the Israeli–Palestinian conflict in a dual fashion. They depicted emotions as forces (a) whose dynamics have to be understood in order to grapple with the conflict, and (b) whose detrimental effects have to be controlled through proper management. Thus, both associations portrayed emotions as an instrument for understanding the political situation and as a powerful tool to achieve social and political aims. Though both Imut and Natal emotionalised the conflict in their civil society interventions, neither of them depoliticised it. Rather, they transposed the psychological from the individual to the social level, thus embedding it in a dialectic in which the politicisation of the psychological leads to a non-reductionist emotionalisation of the political.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-132
Number of pages18
JournalEmotions and Society
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • Emotional management
  • Emotions and politics
  • Israel
  • Psychologisation
  • Public sphere

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