Tragic encounters and ordinary ethics

Palestine-Israel in British universities

By Ruth Sheldon

Tragic encounters and ordinary ethics


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9314-6
  • Pages: 216
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: October 2016
  • BIC Category: Education, Humanities / Religion & politics, Society & social sciences / Sociology, Society & social sciences / Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography, Religion, Sociology, Social & cultural anthropology, Religion & politics, EDUCATION / Higher, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology of Religion, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
  • Series: New Ethnographies


For over four decades, events in Palestine-Israel have provoked raging conflicts within British universities around issues of free speech, 'extremism', antisemitism and Islamophobia. But why is this conflict so significant for student activists living at such a geographical distance from the region itself? And what role do emotive, polarised communications around Palestine-Israel play in the life of British academic institutions committed to the ideal of free expression?

This book draws on original ethnographic research with student activists on different sides of this conflict to initiate a conversation with students, academics and members of the public who are concerned with the transnational politics of Palestine-Israel and with the changing role of the public university. It shows how, in an increasingly globalised world that is shaped by entangled histories of European antisemitism and colonial violence, ethnography can open up ethical responses to questions of justice



Shortlist British Sociological Association Philip Abrams Prize


Series editor's foreword
Introduction: unsettling subjects of justice and ethics
1 Contested framings: democratic confl ict and the public university
2 Finding the words: towards ethical ethnography
3 University melodramas: the claim of reason
4 Tragic action: ambiguous passions and misrecognition
5 Ordinary ethics: conversation, friendship and democratic possibilities
Conclusion: good relations, free speech and political activism
Postscript: unfi nished conversations


Ruth Sheldon is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London

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