Resistance and the city

Dan Rabinowitz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mass demonstrations that took place in 2011 in major cities worldwide, dubbed here Contemporary Metropolitan Protest (CMP), varied in terms of the issues tackled and the political efficacy attained, but featured similarities in style, mobilization patterns and the use of traditional and social media. The similarities explain the tendency among commentators and researchers to treat CMP as a coherent category. The variation, on the other hand, raises questions about conceptual and theoretical idioms used so far in the analysis of CMP. The article begins by scrutinizing "resistance"-an idiom introduced to anthropology in the 1980s to theorize peasant response to metropolitan policies-and its recent emergence in the depiction and analysis of CMP. Highlighting the strengths and limitations of the term, I use the rise and fall of CMP in Tel Aviv in 2011 and 2012 as an example of how the implicit logic of aggression and response, so central to earlier employment of the notion of resistance, can be hijacked by defensive regimes that seek to delegitimize and criminalize critique, thus forcing CMP to decline and implode.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)472-487
Number of pages16
JournalHistory and Anthropology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 8 Aug 2014


  • Contemporary Metropolitan Protest
  • Criminalization
  • Ethnography
  • Protest
  • Repression
  • Resistance
  • Securitization
  • Tel Aviv
  • Urban Struggles/Rebel Cities


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