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Understanding photography is more than a matter of assessing photographs, writes Ariella Azoulay. The photograph is merely one event in a sequence that constitutes photography and which always involves an actual or potential spectator in the relationship between the photographer and the individual portrayed. The shift in focus from product to practice, outlined in Civil Imagination, brings to light the way images can both reinforce and resist the oppressive reality foisted upon the people depicted.Through photography, Civil Imagination seeks out relations of partnership, solidarity, and sharing that come into being at the expense of sovereign powers that threaten to destroy them. Azoulay argues that the "civil" must be distinguished from the "political" as the interest that citizens have in themselves, in others, in their shared forms of coexistence, as well as in the world they create and transform. Azoulay's book sketches out a new horizon of civil living for citizens as well as subjects denied citizenship--inevitable partners in a reality they are invited to imagine anew and to reconstruct.Beautifully produced with many illustrations, Civil Imagination is a provocative argument for photography as a civic practice capable of reclaiming civil power.
Since the start of the occupation of Palestinian territories in 1967, Israel's domination of the Palestinians has deprived an entire population of any political status or protection. But even decades on, most people speak of this rule-both in everyday political discussion and in legal and academic debates-as temporary, as a state of affairs incidental and external to the Israeli regime. InThe One-State Condition, Ariella Azoulay and Adi Ophir directly challenge this belief. Looking closely at the history and contemporary formation of the ruling apparatus-the technologies and operations of the Israeli army, the General Security Services, and the legal system imposed in the Occupied Territories-Azoulay and Ophir outline the one-state condition of Israel/Palestine: the grounding principle of Israeli governance is the perpetuation of differential rule over populations of differing status. Israeli citizenship is shaped through the active denial of Palestinian citizenship and civil rights. Though many Israelis, on both political right and left, agree that the occupation constitutes a problem for Israeli democracy, few ultimately admit that Israel is no democracy or question the very structure of the Israeli regime itself. Too frequently ignored are the lasting effects of the deceptive denial of the events of 1948 and 1967, and the ways in which the resulting occupation has reinforced the sweeping militarization and recent racialization of Israeli society. Azoulay and Ophir show that acknowledgment of the one-stateconditionis not only a prerequisite for considering a one- or two-statesolution; it is a prerequisite for advancing new ideas to move beyond the trap of this false dilemma.
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