Prison Hunger Strikes as Civil Resistance

by Malaka Shwaikh & Rebecca Gould


Prison Hunger Strikes in Palestine: A Strategic Perspective

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This monograph examines six different global contexts where prison hunger strikes were used as a tool of civil resistance, with a specific focus on hunger strikes among Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails from 1948 to the present. Drawing on first-hand interviews, archival research, and primary and secondary research in various languages, the authors examine how hunger strikes have generated solidarity among prison populations from Palestine, South Africa, and Northern Ireland to Iran, Turkey, and the United States. They offer an innovative typology for the effectiveness of hunger strikes and other forms of civil resistance across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America, highlighting the differences and similarities between prison strikes in regimes of occupation, in apartheid states, and within liberal democracies. Aimed at both academics and practitioners, this is the first monograph to offer a comparative account of prison hunger strikes on a global scale, and to incorporate findings from international law, legal anthropology, political theory, and sociology into a broad theory of the capacity of nonviolent civil resistance to bring about measurable political change.

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