New Book: Ram; The Return of Martin Buber (in Hebrew)

רם, אורי. שובו של מרטין בובר. המחשבה הלאומית והחברתית בישראל מבובר עד הבובריאנים החדשים. תל אביב: רסלינג, 2015.

buber

Martin Buber (1878-1965) was the first chair of the first Department of Sociology at the first university in Israel – but who remembers this today? This book discusses the history of ideas of national and social thought, and of sociology in Israel, through the question of Buber’s changing status: what was his initial place in sociology? Why did he disappear from the sociological canon? And why has interest in his works resurged in recent years?

This significant book by Uri Ram presents a new look at Buber’s philosophy and offers a critical reading of it. While Buber was a prominent figure of the pre-state peace movements (“Brit Shalom” and “Ihud”), he was also a German thinker of his time, who utterly rejected modernism and fully embraced the conservative-right visions of traditional Gemeinschaft Community, the nationalist Volk culture, and the Congregation of the Faithful.

The Department of Sociology was founded in the academic year of 1947/8 and Buber was appointed as its chair. His sociology was somewhat consistent with the spirit of the pre-state Jewish community, but not the spirit of statehood that followed independence. In 1950, the leadership of Sociology shifted to Buber’s student Eisenstadt, who designed the discipline in the coming decades in the spirit of American modernization. Buber’s figure became marginal for many years. However, since the 1990s, Buber’s status has enjoyed a revival, against the backdrop of the crisis of secular nationalism, alongside the rise of postmodern and postcolonial approaches in intellectual discourse. New sociological studies was inspired by Buber is defined in this book as “neo-Buberian”, and the book raises questions as to whether this trend promotes a civil and democratic culture or rather empowers the national-religious culture in contemporary Israel.

 

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