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FRISAM-Fri prosjektstøtte samfunnsvitenskap

Being Jewish and Arab: Nationalism among Mizrahim in a development town in the Galilee.

Awarded: NOK 1.5 mill.

The research project aims to investigate the meaning and dynamics of contemporary nationalism among Mizrahim (non-European Jews) in a development town in the Galilee in Northern Israel. I am interested in the subjective element of attachment to nations an d ethnic groups by their members, and I intend to study the fundamental role of sentiment and affect in constituting varying depths of national belonging. A deeper understanding of how symbols do (and do not) work in the constitution of national sentiment s is needed. Further, I wish to explore the role of religion in providing crucial organizational and ideological resources for nationalism and the institutionalised expressions of collective identity (Hearn 2006:217).Mizrahi is shorthand for a combination of frontiers and markers. Authors have tried to deconstruct these markers, asking why they become frozen in social categories or even institutionalized by a combination of legal, bureaucratic and political mechanisms. Research at the macro and discursiv e level reveals much about how Jews from such diverse countries as Yemen, Morocco and Iraq were crystallized into a particular kind of object of knowledge. However, revealing the discursive constructedness of Mizrahim tells us little about the diverse sub jective experiences within that category of belonging. In order to explain national belonging it must be approach as a multilayered and internally contested process which can mobilize loyalty to both an ethnic community and the imagined national community simultaneously. An anthropological approach can shed light on the complexities and paradoxes faced by Mizrahim in their daily activities and associations.

Funding scheme:

FRISAM-Fri prosjektstøtte samfunnsvitenskap