Toward an Anthropology of Nation Building and Unbuilding in Israel


Toward an Anthropology of Nation Building and Unbuilding in Israel

Edited and with an introduction by Fran Markowitz, Stephen Sharot, and Moshe Shokeid
Afterword by Alex Weingrod 

Studies of Jews in Society Series

352 pages
4 illustrations


January 2015


$65.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

January 2015


$65.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

January 2015


$65.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Toward an Anthropology of Nation Building and Unbuilding in Israel presents twenty-two original essays offering a critical survey of the anthropology of Israel inspired by Alex Weingrod, emeritus professor and pioneering scholar of Israeli anthropology. In the late 1950s Weingrod’s groundbreaking ethnographic research of Israel’s underpopulated south complicated the dominant social science discourse and government policy of the day by focusing on the ironies inherent in the project of Israeli nation building and on the process of migration prompted by social change.

Drawing from Weingrod’s perspective, this collection considers the gaps, ruptures, and juxtapositions in Israeli society and the cultural categories undergirding and subverting these divisions. Organized into four parts, the volume examines our understanding of Israel as a place of difference, the disruptions and integrations of diaspora, the various permutations of Judaism, and the role of symbol in the national landscape and in Middle Eastern studies considered from a comparative perspective. These essays illuminate the key issues pervading, motivating, and frustrating Israel’s complex ethnoscape.


Author Bio

Fran Markowitz is a professor of anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.

Stephen Sharot is a professor emeritus of sociology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Moshe Shokeid is a professor emeritus of anthropology at Tel Aviv University.

Alex Weingrod is a professor emeritus of anthropology at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.


“This volume covers a wide variety of topics with considerable relevance for society in Israel today, written by well-trained and serious students of Israeli society and culture.”—Herbert S. Lewis, emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of In Defense of Anthropology: An Investigation of the Critique of Anthropology

Table of Contents

Fran Markowitz, Stephen Sharot, and Moshe Shokeid
Part 1. Coexistence and Conflict
1. Living Together Separately: Arab-Palestinian Places through Jewish-Israeli Eyes
Efrat Ben-Ze’ev
2. Landscapes of Despair, Islands of Hope: Social Working in the Unrecognized Arab-Bedouin Villages in the Negev
Hagit Peres
3. Performing the People’s Army: The Israeli Military Manages Symbolic and Moral Boundaries
Edna Lomsky-Feder and Eyal Ben-Ari
4. Another Item in the News: Normalcy and Distress at Sapir College
Dafna Shir-Vertesh
5. From the Protest to Testimony and Confession: The Changing Politics of Peace Organizations in Israel
Sara Helman
Part 2. Migration, Ethnicity, and Identities
6. From Engaged Mediator to Freelance Consultant: Israeli Social Scientists in the Service of Immigrant Absorption
Moshe Shokeid
7. A Different Mizrahi Story: How the Iraqis Became Israelis
Esther Meir-Glitzenstein
8. Living Separately, Loving Tragically: Cross-Ethnic Romance in Israeli Films
Stephen Sharot
9. Universalism and Particularism Revisited: Immigrant Physicians from the Former Soviet Union in Israel
Judith T. Shuval
10. Israelis of Ethiopian Origin: New Identity Constructs and Research Models
Lisa Anteby-Yemini
Part 3. Religion and Rituals
11. Toward an Ethnography of a Mediterranean People: The Complex Culture of Southern Tunisian Jewry in the Early Twentieth Century
Shlomo Deshen
12. “With Us More Than Ever Before”: Making the Absent Rebbe Present in Messianic Habad
Yoram Bilu
13. How Do We Know When a Society Is Changing? Reflections on Liberal Judaism in Israel
Harvey E. Goldberg
14. More Dry Bones: The Significance of Changes in Mortuary Ritual in Contemporary Israel
Henry Abramovitch
15. “Where It All Began”: Archaeology, Nationalism, and Fundamentalism in Silwan
Michael Feige
16. Vehicles of Values: Souvenirs and the Moralities of Exchange in Christian Holy Land Pilgrimage
Jackie Feldman
Part 4. Comparative Perspectives
17. Reading and Redacting National Landscapes: Tales of Two Buildings from Israel and Bosnia
Fran Markowitz
18. “I Love a Parade”: Ethnic Identity in the United States and Israel
Abraham Rosman and Paula G. Rubel
19. Middle East Studies in Israel, Europe, and the United States: Trends and Prospects
Dale F. Eickelman
Alex Weingrod

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