New Article: Lainer-Vos, Israel in the Poconos: Simulating the Nation in a Zionist Summer Camp

Lainer-Vos, Dan. “Israel in the Poconos: Simulating the Nation in a Zionist Summer Camp.” Theory and Society 43.1 (2014): 91-116.

 

URL: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/klu/ryso/2014/00000043/00000001/00009210

 

Abstract

This article develops a theory of simulation as a nation building mechanism by exploring the production of national belonging in Massad, a Jewish-American summer camp that operated in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania, between 1941 and 1981. Trying to inspire campers to Zionism, the camp organizers shaped Massad as a “mini Israel.” This simulation engendered national attachments by lending credence to the belief that others, in Israel, experience more authentic national belonging. Rather than tempting campers to imagine the nation as a “horizontal camaraderie” (Anderson 1991), national simulations allow members to account for their distinct and often ambivalent position from within the nation. From this perspective, nation building is not simply a matter of relativizing internal differences and dramatizing differences between the groups that make up the nation and “outsiders.” Instead, nation building also is centrally a matter of creating institutional routines and practices that allow members to account for their differential position from within the nation.

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