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State mutability and ethnic civil society: the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel

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This article identifies the phenomenon of ethnic civil society activism as mobilization that seeks to empower an ethnic community and challenges the institutional order. The case of the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel is discussed and is used to reveal the conditions under which disaffected minorities pursue the path of ethnic civil society. The study finds that an analytical framework that stresses the mutability of state structures and changes in broader state-society relations provides a better explanation than existing theories of ethnic conflict. State-society characteristics conducive to this type of mobilization are a well-institutionalized state that can prevent deviation from the state's foundational rules and a counterbalanced dispersion of authority that limits regime capacity to control society.
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Keywords: Arab minority; Israel; civil society; ethnic minorities; ethnic mobilization; state-minority relations

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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