The implications of a politics of natality for the praxis of peacebuilding inthe Middle East

  • Nanci Hogan

Student thesis: Master of Philosophy


ABSTRACTUniversity of ManchesterNanci HoganMasters of PhilosophyTitle: The implications of a politics of natality for the praxis of peacebuilding inthe Middle EastJune 9, 2013This thesis sketches out the contours of a politics of natality suggested by thework of feminist philosopher of religion, Grace Jantzen, based on her reading ofHannah Arendt's work on natality. It takes up Jantzen's suggestion that a moralimaginary that privileges birth makes human flourishing the central goal ofpolitics. Based on ethical implications of making flourishing central to politics, Idevelop a framework, the matrices of flourishing, for investigating peacebuildingin the Israel/Palestine conflict in order to uncover the fluid moral and ethicalactions and identities of those engaged in peacebuilding, something the thesisargues is not sufficiently addressed by approaches which do not privilegenatality. It then tests this feminist research methodology by investigating thestories of Israelis and Palestinians engaged in a wide range of peacebuildingapproaches in order to locate aspects of flourishing. I travelled to Israel andPalestine in 2008 and using a semi-structured narrative inquiry approach Iinterviewed 32 secular and religious men and women engaged in conflicttransformation and peacebuilding activities. The data revealed that fragile raysof hope, solidarities, were emerging that transcended national, religious andgendered boundaries, which opened up possible fluid futures. Consequently,this thesis makes recommendations for peacebuilding systems approaches andoutlines a research agenda using this approach to assist with strategic planningfor future peacebuilding initiatives in this and other conflicts.A central premise of the thesis is that because current conflict resolutionapproaches do not sufficiently account for the public political implications ofreligion, they overlook some of the ways in which people act ethically andmorally to promote peace instead of conflict. Furthermore these approaches donot sufficiently account for the ways in which religion informs people's moralcontext and their fluid moral identities. By exploring how religion informs andshapes the moral imaginaries and the moral context in which individuals arelocated, this thesis argues that it is possible to locate the ways in which bothreligious and nonreligious individuals are motivated to act ethically out of loverather than from need to promote the flourishing of others. It uncovers waysthat individuals, religious or not, deploy their moral imagination and how theyare changed by their encounters with their enemy. Additionally, this thesisconsiders the intersections of religion and gender in the constructions of fluididentities and seeks to uncover the moral agency of religious women,something that the thesis argues has not been sufficiently considered in thefeminist conflict resolution literature in the Israel/Palestine conflict.
Date of Award1 Aug 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAngelia Wilson (Supervisor) & Veronique Pin-Fat (Supervisor)


  • international politics
  • security
  • Gloria Anzaldua
  • nongovernmental organisations
  • identity
  • liberation theology
  • theology
  • Saba Mahmood
  • multi track diplomacy
  • conflict transformation
  • politics
  • Grace Jantzen
  • peacebuilding
  • conflict resolution
  • natality
  • flourishing
  • Hannah Arendt
  • feminist moral philosophy
  • moral imagination
  • moral imaginary
  • religion

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