In Memoriam: Elia Zureik

Academia has lost one of the giants of Sociology, Elia Zureik, Professor Emeritus at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario and founder of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Doha, Qatar. He passed away on January 16 at the age of 84.

Dr. Zureik was a consummate intellectual, teacher, writer, lecturer, and activist. Since the 1970s, his writings on the state and its functions—surveillance, power, and oppression—have been required reading in sociology and the study of social development. His commitment to and defense of Palestinian rights both inside and outside of Israel, as well as his detailed depiction of Israel’s colonialist project in Palestine, made him one of the foremost authorities on Palestinian society, dispossession, and rights.

He authored or edited a great number of books and articles on surveillance, the Palestinian experience under Israeli control, the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, and numerous other topics. Among his works is his book The Palestinians in Israel: A Study in Internal Colonialism (Routledge and K. Paul, 1979), which was one of the first tracts to explain the subordinate status of Palestinian citizens in Israel under the Zionist Israeli regime.

His work on surveillance looked at the state as the ultimate authority on policing and border control. He collaborated with Mark Salter in editing Global Surveillance and Policing: Borders, Security, Identity (William Publishing, 2005), a compendium of essays by experts in the fields of information and communications, political science and identity, and international law, among other disciplines. He also collaborated with David Lyon and Yasmeen Abu-Laban to edit Surveillance and Control in Israel/Palestine (Routledge, 2010), a collection of studies related to population control, Israeli occupation, and the issues of war and peace in international media.

Elia Zureik has indeed lived a life of academic excellence and commitment to the causes of justice, freedom, and self-determination. He will be sorely missed, as a rights activist, a friend, and a teacher. May he forever rest in peace.