In our comparison of marriage arrangements and wedding celebrations during the first and the second intifada in Palestine, we focus on “political marriages” wherein the political activism and affiliation of the marital partners are of considerable importance. During the first intifada, political engagement became a major consideration in choice of marriage partner in some settings, and conventional boundaries of religion and class were transgressed. Simultaneously, marriage celebrations were transformed, whereby a widespread culture of austerity and mourning made weddings far more simple and inexpensive, as well as signaling solidarity and resistance. In the second intifada, marriage arrangements and wedding celebrations are very different. The changed political climate, with the hope and popular participation of the first intifada turned into the despair and exclusions of the second, transformed political engagement from a positive into a largely negative qualification. The material side of marriage has again become more important, public displays of consumption acceptable, and celebrations more expensive. These shift s are shaped by the effects of the post-Oslo transition, as well as by the warlike conditions on the ground. Although these conditions, from Israeli army intrusions to physical barriers to marriage, are more insecure and dangerous than in the earlier intifada, they function largely as external threats to the shaping of wedding arrangements and ceremonies, rather than generating internal transformations.

For Maha Mustaqlem Nassar (1954–2008) whose committed life inspired us.

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