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Allen, Lori (2017) 'Determining Emotions and the Burden of Proof in Investigative Commissions to Palestine.' Comparative Studies in Society and History, 59 (2). pp. 385-414.

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The conflict in Palestine has been the subject of numerous international investigative commissions over the past century. These have been dispatched by governments to determine the causes of violent conflicts and how to resolve them. Commissions both produce and reflect political epistemologies, the social processes and categories by which proof and evidence are produced and mobilized in political claim-making. Using archival and ethnographic sources, my analysis focuses on three investigative commissions: the King-Crane (1919), Anglo-American (1946), and Mitchell (2001) commissions. They reveal how “reading affect” has been a diagnostic of political worthiness. Through these investigations, Western colonial agents and “the international community” have given Palestinians false hope that discourse and reason were the appropriate and effective mode of politics. Rather than simply reason, however, what each required was maintenance of an impossible balance between the rational and the emotional. This essay explores the ways that affect as a diagnostic of political worthiness has worked as a technology of rule in imperial orders, and has served as an unspoken legitimating mechanism of domination.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Anthropology and Sociology
ISSN: 14752999
Copyright Statement: © Society for the Comparative Study of Society and History 2017. This is the accepted version of an article accepted for publication in Comparative Studies in Society and History Vol. 59 No.2, 385-414 published by Cambridge University Press. Published version available at:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2016 12:20
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council, British Academy

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