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.
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