The Deconstruction of the Concept of Normalization within the Context of the Settler-Colonialism in Palestine: The Duality of Acceptance and Rejection

Mai Albzour

University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and


The concept of normalization was associated with the peace process with Israelis, in both, Arab and Palestinian context. The term has different interpretations depending on context, and it becomes more complex when referring to a direct relationship between the colonized and their colonizers in the context of the settler colonialism in Palestine, therefore, it is a highly controversial concept. The political debates over the concept, mostly describe it as a term that refers to recognizing the state of Israel and conducting normal relations with Israelis. The term ‘normalization’ has been used by Michel Foucault in describing the processes of psychological dominance imposed by an authority’s penal role in modern societies and its influence on human groups. One of the most prominent purposes of “Post-modern” theories is to resist the colonial dominant narratives by discovering the Scattered Historical Contingencies. Given this premise, this paper has the following objectives: To offer a critical, deconstructivist analysis for the concept of normalization in the context of the settler-colonial regime, and to study the genealogies of this concept (Généalogie) by investigating the relevant historical hypotheses: 1) there are historical differences regarding the appearance of the expression phonologically and its practice (political, official, and public practice); and 2) there are historical epistemological transformations that took place with regards to Arabs’ perceptions, and the political reflection, which shaped the image and the relationship with the colonizer, due to the practice of the concept normalization in politics. I will analyse these historical hypotheses by using a synthesis of settler colonial theoretical frameworks and those of socio-political psychology such as Frantz Fanon’s theoretical contributions, to investigate political discourse, including discourse in peace treaties, politics related to the Palestinian and Arab national identities, and the relevant political discourses used by politicians who reject normalization.

Keywords: Normalization, Settler colonialism, Intergroup relations, History, National identity 


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