Introduction REBECCA L. STE
TED SWEDENBU
Popular Cultu
Transnationali
Radical Histor
Tture
raditionally, most radical scholarship on Palestine and Israel
nored questions of popular culture, or, at best, consigned popul
forms and processes to the margins of scholarly debate a
vestigation.1
For many scholars, the act of marginalization has see
necessary response to the severity of the national conflict, the har
lence of the Israeli occupation, and the enduring struggle for Pales
national liberation. Popular culture’s frequent appearance in com
form has made the labor of marginalization seem all the more nec
particularly for scholars wedded to classic Marxist analytics, in whic
production and commodification are thought to render the cultura
‘‘inauthentic.’’ For scholars concerned primarily with questions of n
alism and national conflict in Palestine and Israel, the global circ
the popular cultural commodity have further removed it from the sc
agenda. Popular culture, in all these approaches, is deemed epiphe
nal to questions of politics and power.
In the past decade, scholars in the field of Middle East studie
begun to rethink these presumptions, taking popular culture serio
a space, practice, or
discourse.2
Our volume grows out of this larger
In the most basic terms, we are arguing that the question of popul
ture in Palestine and Israel is fundamentally one of politics and po
turn, we suggest that the marginalization of popular culture in pr
sive scholarship on the region is symptomatic of the conceptual and
odological limits that still define much of this scholarship: the per
logic of the nation or nation-state, on the one hand, and the analyti
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