The Biopolitics of Declassing Professional Women in a Settler-Colonial Context

Monday, 16 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Sarab ABU-RABIA, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
In this paper, I argue that the biopolitics of declassing Palestinian professional women, as part of the logic of eliminating the native, is mediated by colonial violence as part of securing the class sovereignty of the settler in the labor market. By declassing, I refer to women's class subordination and transparency in the labor market- a group of middle class professional Palestinian women from the southern Naqab\Negev, who account for no more than 4.1% (Ghara, 2015: 73) of Bedouin society yet represent its greatest financial, educational and cultural capital.

This study aims at unpacking the logic of elimination through the racialized, everyday lived experience of the highest female class in Bedouin society that succeeded in entering the Jewish workplace. Nevertheless, in this case, they face sophisticated erasure tactics, paralleling various manifestations of the direct politics of fear that disciplines the body, will and mind, as well as indirect opposition reflected in the reinforcement of patriarchal power against women in the labour market.

This paper’s purpose is to reveal concealed violent forms of power practiced by the colonialists to declass Palestinian women and preserve colonialist's class superiority in the labor market. It contributes to the field of bodily class stratification/subordination, that is not carried out primarily through economic (Scott, 2002) or symbolic (Anthias, 2001) means, but rather through everyday embodied practices involving violent mechanisms.