At the Doors of Paradise
The participation of Palestinian women in active combat has triggered complex - verbal, visual, written - discourses about the "istišhadiyat" within Palestinian society, which are analysed in the book. This is but one part of the much larger and no less diverse political discourse on the Palestinian issue, elaborated in the book.
The study is focussed on the influence that discourse can have on the development of opinion or decisions. In this context ideologising, propagandistic and manipulative processes play a role. Here, the myths that surround the "istišhadiyat" are viewed from a gender perspective - focusing on the symbolic and discursive level.
Franke delineates various ways in which Palestinians engage the phenomenon of the "istišhadiyat", how they glorify them within the realm of martyrdom and resistance - or not, and how ideological or manipulative practices are employed. Although modern discourses (esp. nationalism) play a decisive role in the construction of the "istišhadiyat", the figure of the modern martyr has its roots in religious tradition. How can the relationship between the religious and the nationalist element be described? What are the processes that glorify the "istišhadiyat" as martyrs? What is the impact of these modern discourses on the changing role of women?
The present study demonstrates that no single discourse regarding the "istišhadiyat" prevails in Palestinian society. It is rather a conglomerate of power relations and interests in which this controversial topic is negotiated.