The Psychology of Pain-Based Solidarity: Locating Fluctuating Solidarity in the Path from Victimhood to Resistance
Ghina Abi-Ghannam, Critical Social Personality Psychology
Faculty Advisor: Michelle Fine
Heavily reliant on Frantz Fanon’s decolonial theorizations on violence, the main conceptual aim of this project is to provide a closer investigation of what we call “pain-based solidarity”. This construct refers to solidarity granted to the victims of systemic violence that is conditional on them being in pain—We argue that this type of solidarity has the definitive potential to be retracted in moments when the victim’s (violent) resistance, and not pain, becomes visible.
Empirically, this project involves conducting a social media analysis that will help us investigate the concept of “pain-based solidarity” and how it relates to ideas of “good victimhood”, taking solidarity with Palestinians as a case study. This study primarily interrogates online narratives that reflect solidarity granted, withheld, or withdrawn from Palestinians during the Israeli aggression in the Spring of 2021. Through systematically tracing trends of (fluctuating) solidarities against the backdrop of military escalations, the findings will then inform our critique of the traditional paradigms imposed on the study of violence and resistance in social and political psychology that distort/erase histories and current realities of (settler-)colonialism and material power structures.