This monograph examines six different global contexts where prison hunger strikes were used as a tool of civil resistance, with a specific focus on hunger strikes among Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails from 1948 to the present. Drawing on first-hand interviews, archival research, and primary and secondary research in various languages, the authors examine how hunger strikes have generated solidarity among prison populations from Palestine, South Africa, and Northern Ireland to Iran, Turkey, and the United States. They offer an innovative typology for the effectiveness of hunger strikes and other forms of civil resistance across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America, highlighting the differences and similarities between prison strikes in regimes of occupation, in apartheid states, and within liberal democracies. Aimed at both academics and practitioners, this is the first monograph to offer a comparative account of prison hunger strikes on a global scale, and to incorporate findings from international law, legal anthropology, political theory, and sociology into a broad theory of the capacity of nonviolent civil resistance to bring about measurable political change.
Malaka Shwaikh is a Palestinian PhD student in Exeter University’s Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. Her research focus is resistance in the prison context. She speaks at several international events, and is published in several journals on the Palestinian struggle for freedom. She is also an award-winning activist, holding several roles (past and present) in the National Union of Students (UK) Executive Committee, and the Sheffield University and Exeter University students’ unions.
Rebecca Ruth Gould is Professor, Islamic World and Comparative Literature at the University of Birmingham. She is the author of Writers and Rebels: The Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus (Yale University Press, 2016), which was awarded the University of Southern California Book Prize in Literary and Cultural Studies and the prize for best book by the Association for Women in Slavic Studies. She has also been awarded the Florence Howe Award for Feminist Scholarship by the Modern Languages Association (2015) and the Charles Schmitt Prize by the International Society for Intellectual History (2015).