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What is the role of citizenship in a protest? How are civilian rights used as a source of power to craft socio-spatial strategies of dissent? I argue that the growing civilian consciousness of the “power to” (i.e. capacity to act) and of the border as public space is enhancing civil participation and new dissent strategies through which participants consciously and sophisticatedly use their citizenship as a tool, offering different conceptualizations of borders. This paper examines the role of citizenship in the design and performance of dissent focusing on two groups of Israeli activists, Machsom Watch and Anarchists against the Wall. Using their Israeli citizenship as a source of power, these groups apply different strategies of dissent while challenging the discriminating practices of control in occupied Palestinian territories. These case studies demonstrate a growing civilian consciousness of the mutable nature of borders as designed by state power. Analyzing the ways actors consciously and sophisticatedly use citizenship as a tool in their dissent, which is aimed at supporting indigenous noncitizens, I argue that Machsom Watch and Anarchists against the Wall enact and promote different models of citizenship and understandings of borders, in Israel/Palestine.
► The paper analyzes how civilian rights are used to craft socio-spatial strategies of dissent.
► Analysis is focused on groups of Israeli activists, Machsom Watch and Anarchists against the Wall.
► Case studies demonstrate a civilian consciousness of the mutable nature of borders.
► Protests have the capacity to challenge the state’s model of citizenship.
Journal: Political Geography - Volume 31, Issue 6, August 2012, Pages 347–357