nicola perugini on the moral economy of israel


Nicola Perugini, ‘The Moral Economy of Settler Colonialism: Israel and the “Evacuation Trauma”‘, History of the Present 4, 1 (2014).

The evacuations of settlements in a colonial situation can represent moments of potential rupture and reversal of a political order rooted in dispossession. In the case of Israel and Palestine, however, such moments are characterized by the re-articulation and re-legitimization of the settler colonial enterprise. This takes place through the development of a specific settler moral economy founded on the political mobilization of trauma. I utilize the notion of moral economy of settler colonialism in order to define the way in which, within the settler colonial polity, evacuations are couched as a national trauma and the evacuated dispossessor as a traumatized victim of injustice. Through the analysis of this moral economy, I maintain, we can grasp one of the dominant imaginaries in Israel’s settler colonial model. The underlying question of my investigation, how settler colonialism provides a moral sense of justice within the settler colonial polity and how decolonization is perceived as a threatening injustice, may seem like an old one. Nevertheless, it is curious that this question remains relatively unexplored in the case of Israel and Palestine.

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