A Performance in Politics
: Hamas and the EU through the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Elections

  • Catherine Winifred Charrett

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis explores the various ritualised modes of being and doing that surrounded the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections. It observes how Hamas and the EU can be understood as performing within particular spaces, whereby an alignment of bodies to spaces delimited possible action. It observes how processes of recognition shaped the EU’s response to Hamas’s success in the elections, perhaps because of the EU’s anxious attachment to a ritualised understanding of itself, or perhaps because of a fantasised understanding of Hamas. This thesis observes how institutional practices or regimented ways of knowing and doing placed particular imperatives to perform upon those acting bodies within the EU, and it explores how this may have barred a possible alternative response to the newly elected Hamas government. This work, therefore, engages a particular curiosity about an alternative relationship between Hamas and the EU through and after the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections. It examines this curiosity through Judith Butler’s theory of performativity, which offers the possibility of observing how subjects are constituted through regulating discourses, while investigating how such discourses may be performed otherwise. Performative rituals are open to resignification and reconstitution. In this thesis I turn to rituals in my own life, and in the lives around me, to demonstrate how ritualised encounters are performed and experienced. I turn to various works in performance art and other artistic forms to provoke and illustrate the possible imaginings of alternative political arrangements, and in particular an alternative arrangement between Hamas and the EU.
This project explores how the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections may have provided an opportunity for Hamas and the EU to reconstitute their political relationship. It tells of the expectations which surrounded the elections; expectations germinating from a performance of democracy. It tells of the disappointment which followed from the EU’s response to Hamas’s electoral success; a response which reproduced Hamas as an illegitimate actor. It tells of how the EU may have performed an alternative response to Hamas, fashioning a different relationship between them.
Date of Award03 Jun 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorRichard H. G. Jackson (Supervisor) & Ayla Gol (Supervisor)

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