Subaltern Agency in the Cultural Industries: Palestinian Creative Labor in the Israeli Series Fauda

Amal Jamal, Noa Lavie


This article advances the theorization of creative labor in cultural production in conflict zones. It argues that exploring minority creative workers’ behavior in media production in conflict zones helps to reveal patterns of othering of minorities and the coping strategies they develop to deal with being caught in the dominant narrative facilitated by the cultural industry. This venture is framed within postcolonial theorization, which contributes to revealing the unique impact of the interconnection between economic and symbolic factors on the behavior of creative labor. It also allows us to join other scholars in de-Westernizing creative labor studies and challenging the thesis of the silenced subaltern. To that end, we explore the meaning of “circumscribed agents” and “subaltern agency” through an analysis of ethnographic observations conducted during the production of the Israeli television series, Fauda. Examining the patterns of behavior of Palestinian–Israeli creative workers on the set of the series reveals three strategies of agency claiming—namely, authentication, self-orientalization, and mimicking.


subaltern agency, Fauda, cultural industries, Israel, Palestinian, creative labor

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