Exit, Voice, Loyalty … or Deliberate Obstruction? Non-Collective Everyday Resistance under Oppression.

Exit, Voice, Loyalty … or Deliberate Obstruction? Non-Collective Everyday Resistance under Oppression.

By Stephanie Dornschneider, University College Dublin

In highly oppressive environments, collective resistance is very costly. Non-collective resistance constitutes a less risky alternative. Focusing on a particular oppressed setting, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, I identify everyday forms of non-collective resistance: signaling, persevering, eschewing, and coping. Characterized by low visibility and targeting political goals indirectly, these activities have not yet been recognized as forms of resistance. However, they constitute important resistance efforts that deliberately obstruct oppressive regimes. These efforts show that individuals who are not visibly resisting their rulers cannot be assumed to be loyal or to suffer from a barrier of fear, as often suggested by theories in politics. They also offer an important addition to theories that identify violence as a common response to oppression, suggesting that peaceful non-collective activities constitute an everyday alternative.