We are pleased to announce the winner of the FWSA 2017 Book Prize competition: Katherine Natanel’s Sustaining Conflict: Apathy and Domination in Israel-Palestine. Thanks to everyone who participated and helped make the competition a success.

2017: Katherine Natanel for ‘Sustaining Conflict: Apathy and Domination in Israel-Palestine’.

Sustaining Conflict develops a groundbreaking theory of political apathy, using a combination of ethnographic material, narrative, political, cultural, and feminist theory. It examines how the status quo is maintained in Israel-Palestine, even by the activities of Jewish Israelis who are working against the occupation of Palestinian territories. While focusing on Israel, this is a book that has lessons for how any authoritarian regime is sustained through apathy (University of California Press).

This is a book about the ugliest of oppression. And yet it is beautiful. Beautifully written, beautifully nuanced, and beautifully human. Vividly brought to life, and at points gripping, I read with genuine fascination. This is a study on the need to exist on an everyday scale, despite extraordinary circumstances, and what this means for the preservation of an unjust status quo. Natanel paints a landscape of contradiction that shows how, under conditions of sustained inequality and extremity, work goes into creating a manageable ordinariness, leading those who seek to resist, to ultimately enable.

– Judge’s comment

This is a passionately-argued and dynamic piece of work which considers the interconnectivities between power, knowledge and apathy.   The author considers the latter as active disengagement, and traces precisely how the political realities shaped by this disengagement foster and privilege certain modes of thinking. While the text is about the Israel-Palestine conflict, there is much here of relevance (and significance) for global politics (particularly in the light of the events of the past 18 months in the UK and in the US) and I anticipate that the book will be vital reading for those interested in politics, identity formation and the nation-state.

– Judge’s comment