Exploring the Mechanisms and Dynamics of Politically-Motivated Youth Movements in Palestine: A Bourdieusian Perspective
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This thesis draws on a Bourdieusian perspective to explore the organisational mechanisms and dynamics in Palestinian politically motivated social movement. The consequent body of literature often lacks an integrated comprehension of Bourdieusian theory, and his three main concepts: field, habitus, and capital. Little has been understood about Bourdieu’s concepts in social movement context to understand the activists’ behaviours, practices, and practical reasoning in structuring their choices and practices. Being inspired by Bourdieu, the researcher relationally analyses and bridges between different subjectivist and objectivist perspectives on social structures and agents’ practices through employing the relational tool-kit of Bourdieu. To further understand the dynamics, mechanisms, and interorganisational and intraorganisational relations in social movements, an interpretive approach was used to gather context-rich data from ordinary activists, core activists and organisers. Findings showed that fields of practices, both external and internal, have specific doxa and species of capital, which shape the rules of the game inside this field, and its relationship with other fields. Data collected found that the ‘state field’ enjoys the most dominant doxa in the Palestinian context, which is deployed to legitimise the oppression of the politically-motivated youth movements that were studied. The external and internal fields’ doxa have a crucial influence on agents’ early socialisation, forms of capital, and field’s positioning. This variation and difference between the activists’ habitus caused multiple modes of domination and conflictual dynamics inside the movement itself in relation to features such as political credibility, recruiting parochialism, ideological conflicts, and repertoires of contention. This study contributes to a more dynamic understanding of the habitus as an open mediating concept and a reflexive space which transforms the activists’ behaviours and actions in some incidents. The findings have implications for social movement practitioners, and other relevant stakeholders such as activism groups and bodies, pressure groups, unions, and human rights and civil society associations. It is suggested that future research examining politically-motivated social movements should consider ethnographic methods to capture multiple observational data and contextual findings. In addition, it is suggested further examine habitus mechanisms in reproduction, change and transformation times.
University of Exeter
PhD in Management Studies