Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 81–99 | Cite as

Enactments of otherness and searching for a third space in the Palestine-Israel matrix

  • Lara SheehiEmail author
  • Stephen Sheehi
Original Article


This article offers an exploration of the Third Space possibilities within the inter-subjective experience of Palestinians and Israelis. It explores the sociopolitical forces that constitute psychological threats to potential Third Spaces. We map the psychic structures that govern the relationship between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians, inside Israel and in the Occupied Territories. We will see how these relationships are fundamentally structured by asymmetries of power and subjectivity, resulting in closures of possibilities that could constitute a workable and genuinely reciprocal inter-subjective space of relatedness. As a result, their interaction is characterized by a series of what we term “enactments of otherness,” masterfully preemptive defensive processes that safeguard the object from further oppression and denigration. These enactments may arise from a “perverse” relationship between dominating and dominated subjects; however, they do not preclude the potential for creating radical alternative spaces and subjectivities from which Israelis and Palestinians can, together, co-create viable inter-subjectivities.


Palestine Israel enactment third space otherness Buber 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Professional Psychology Program-Clinical Psychology, The George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Modern Languages and Literature219 WilliamsburgUSA

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