Knowing your adversary: Israeli structure of political opportunity and the inception of the Palestinian Intifada

Eitan Y. Alimi*, William A. Gamson, Charlotte Ryan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social movement scholars have suggested that opportunity structures are not objective features of the world but must be constructed by social forces, including social movements. Here, we attempt to analyze how Palestinians living in the occupied territories constructed political opportunity during the run-up to the 1987 first Intifada. We analyze how the changing Israeli political opportunity structure affected Palestinians' framing of the structural conditions they faced. In particular, we examine (1) how the consolidating Palestinian movement within the occupied territories built the capacity for a shared, collective framing of events, and (2) how the movement adapted a strategy based on its understanding of the opportunity presented by divisions in Israeli society concerning the occupation. Based on the analysis, we offer several insights into the Intifada's dynamics and trajectories.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)535-557
Number of pages23
JournalSociological Forum
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2006

Keywords

  • Contention
  • Framing
  • Mobilization
  • Opportunity structures
  • Repression
  • Transformative events

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