Best Dissertation Award 2019

The winner of the EISA´s Best Dissertation Award 2019 is Sorana-Cristina Jude from the Aberystwyth University for her thesis “Israel´s Military: Emotions, Violence, and the Limits of Dissent”


The abstract of the thesis:

The thesis contributes to the feminist and critical engagements with the Israeli military and its violent behaviour against Palestinian civilians. Intrigued by the public, military, and political reluctance to condemn the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for their individual and collective violence against Palestinians, this research presents the artificial and multifaceted construction of a professional, non-threatening, and humanitarian military subjectivity as a material and symbolic figure that constrains local and international dissent against the Israeli military. This idealised image is constituted through a variety of Israeli soldiering (self-)representations that capture, circulate, and provoke emotions that determine affinity with the Israeli military and the denigration of Palestinians. Therefore, this project shows that a repertoire of emotions constitute and circulate a romanticised military image that strengthens the affective divisions that sanction and justify the enactment of violence in the Middle East.


The committee comment:

The thesis extends upon recent innovations in the study of emotions in IR. Ably drawing in insights from feminist and cultural theories, it provides an original analysis of how emotions, arising from representations of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) as professional, non-threatening and humanitarian, permit civil, military and political tolerance in Israel of violence against Palestinians. Based on detailed empirical findings from ethnographic fieldwork and an impressive range of primary and secondary sources, Dr Jude details how different institutional practices – including education, social media campaigns, forensics, and public commemoration and mourning – contribute to a particular image of the IDF and shape Israeli perceptions of violence against Palestinians. As such, the thesis takes on a broader set of questions about the mechanisms through which meaning-making and identity may limit the space for critique of different forms of violence. It is an innovative work that opens up new directions for the application of the study of emotions

About the Best Dissertation Award

The Best Dissertation Award recognizes outstanding work by young scholars in the field of International Relations. It is awarded to dissertations that make a highly original and significant contribution to International Relations based on rigorous research.


The call for nominations for this year’s EISA Best Dissertation Award is now open.

Please attach an electronic copy of the dissertation (pdf or docx file) with the nomination, which should be submitted electronically to