Israel/Palestine special part 1 | Elements of “Living Law”: in conversation with Eilat Maoz

In light of the events in Israel/Palestine in May 2021, we felt compelled to give special attention to theory and practice that emerges from, is critical of, and devoted to the political present of this place.

In Part 1, we talk with Eilat Maoz about her book “Living Law”, police and policing, vigilante law and even some thoughts on the current project of the left. 


In Conversation with:

Eilat Maoz (University of Chicago)

Eilat Maoz is a social anthropologist studying the shifting organization of violence in light of transformations in global capitalism over time. Her first book, Living Law (Van Leer 2020), is a historical ethnography of Israel’s frontier formations viewed through the lens of law enforcement on Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank. The book reveals the conflictual and complementary roles of state and non-state actors in producing, enacting, and performing sovereignty, highlighting the affective dynamic at the heart of the Israeli project.

Her dissertation thesis, based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork, delineates conflicts, contradictions, and dilemmas surrounding violence and state-making in postcolonial post-slavery Jamaica. Her work traces the intertwining of state, parastate and imperial modes of governing, as well as political practices and imaginaries that renew emancipatory projects.

Currently based in Haifa, she is part of a research team studying economic development and class formation among Palestinian citizens of Israel. She is also a member of Isha L’Isha Feminist Center and an active supporter of the struggle for Palestinian liberation.


מעוז, אילת. חוק חי: שיטור וריבונות תחת כיבוש. הוצאת מכון ון ליר (בשיתוף הוצאת הקיבוץ המאוחד), ירושלים, 2020

*Eilat’s book, Living Law, is currently only available in Hebrew.

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