We apply semi-structured interviews to conceptualise perceptions of global citizenship among teachers at an international school and teachers at a local public school in Israel, revealing discrepancies between theory and practice in global citizenship education (GCE). We find that teachers perceive global citizenship differently along three major axes: boundaries of global citizenship, practical aspects of GCE, and through the effect of Israel’s context. This study offers a comparative perspective that discerns the differing impacts of school context and student background on teacher perceptions at different kinds of schools and highlights the importance of teacher agency in GCE.
Gueta, Keren, and Gila Chen. “‘I Wanted to Rebel, But There They Hit Me Even Harder’: Discourse Analysis of Israeli Women Offenders’ Accounts of Their Pathways to Substance Abuse and Crime.” International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology (early view; online first).
This study examined women offenders’ accounts of their pathways to substance abuse and crime and the intersection between them, to reach a holistic understanding that captures the dynamics of victimization, agency, and gender. Discourse analyses of the accounts of 11 Israeli women offenders indicated differential use of two discourses. Five participants used the victimization discourse, which viewed substance abuse as an attempt to medicate the self that was injured following victimization experiences; two used the agency discourse, which viewed substance abuse as a way to experience pleasure, leisure, and control over their destiny. Four of the participants used these two contradictory discourses simultaneously. The findings indicate the absence of a cultural discourse that encompasses women’s complex experience of gender, victimization, and agency. Possible implications for intervention are discussed.
Navot, Suzie. The Constitution of Israel: A Contextual Analysis. Oxford: Hart, 2014.
This book presents the main features of the Israeli constitutional system and a topical discussion of Israel’s basic laws. It focuses on constitutional history and the peculiar decision to frame a constitution ‘by stages’. Following its British heritage and the lack of a formal constitution, Israel’s democracy grew for more than four decades on the principle of parliamentary supremacy. Introducing a constitutional model and the concept of judicial review of laws, the ‘constitutional revolution’ of the 1990s started a new era in Israel’s constitutional history. The book’s main themes include: constitutional principles; the legislature and the electoral system; the executive; the protection of fundamental rights and the crucial role of the Supreme Court in Israel’s constitutional discourse. It further presents Israel’s unique aspects as a Jewish and democratic state, and its ongoing search for the right balance between human rights and national security. Finally, the book offers a critical discussion of the development of Israel’s constitution and local projects aimed at enacting a single and comprehensive text.
This study explores how religious women become legitimate actors in the public sphere and analyzes their agency—its meanings, capacities, and transformative aims. It presents a novel case study of Israeli Modern-Orthodox Agunah activists who engage in highly politicized collective feminist resistance as religious actors working for religious ends. Embedded in and activated by Orthodoxy, they advocate women’s rights to divorce, voicing a moral critique of tradition and its agents precisely because they are devoutly devoted to them. Such political agency is innovatively conceptualized as “devoted resistance”: critique within relationship, enabled by cultural schema, and comprising both interpretive skills and “relational-autonomy” capacities. This study contends that understanding agency within religious grammars reveals its underlying logics, highlighting how structures shape the meanings and realization of women’s varied “agentive capacities.” It challenges current dichotomies like feminism/religion, resistance/submission, and autonomy/dependence. Overall, the author argues for a nuanced, culturally specific, capacity-based, relational approach to analyzing religious women’s agency.
Free Zone (Amos Gitai, 2005); The Lemon Tree (Eran Riklis, 2008) and Syrian Bride (Eran Riklis, 2004), explore the Arab-Israeli conflict through women’s experience of the political and military stalemate. In presenting Palestinian, Druze, and Israeli women, these filmmakers attempt to contrast and compare women’s shared encounters, including their experience of patriarchy. While the characters may come from diametrically opposed sides, their experiences as women occlude their political differences. In these films, women are foregrounded within the plot, and have agency over their actions if not their situations. Rejecting the masculine frame that has governed representations of the conflict, these filmmakers demonstrate a new kind of approach in Israeli film that considers feminist aesthetics in the construction of character and plot, as well as the treatment of women’s physicality, gaze, territoriality, and agency.
Equating bureaucratic entanglements with pain—or what, arguably, can be seen as torture—might seem strange. But for single Mizrahi welfare mothers in Israel, somatization of bureaucratic logic as physical pain precludes the agency of identity politics. This essay elaborates on Don Handelman’s scholarship on bureaucratic logic as divine cosmology and posits that Israel’s bureaucracy is based on a theological essence that amalgamates gender and race. The essay employs a world anthropologies’ theoretical toolkit to represent bureaucratic torture in multiple narrative modes, including anger, irony, and humor, as a counterexample to dominant U.S.–U.K. formulae for writing and theorizing culture.
Ben Shitrit, Lihi. “Women, Freedom, and Agency in Religious Political Movements: Reflections from Women Activists in Shas and the Islamic Movement in Israel.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 9.3 (2013): 81-107.
Women’s activism in conservative religious-political movements poses a
challenge to liberal feminism. Why do women participate in great numbers
in political organizations that seem to limit women’s freedom and
equality? My work with women activists in the Islamic Movement and the
Jewish ultra-Orthodox Shas Movement in Israel, both explicitly
patriarchal religious revivalist groups similar to other movements
across the Middle East, finds that these movements offer women powerful
liberatory narratives. This paper takes issue with recent arguments that
suggest that pious women experience agency in acts of submission rather
than in resistance and that the association of agency with emancipatory
desire and action is an expression of a patently Western tradition that
celebrates the fiction of the autonomous individual. I find that women
activists’ interpretations of agency in piety practices are highly
invested in the idea of the autonomous individual. The validity of
practices, according to activists, rests on the choice and consciousness
of the individual and on the rejection of submission to social norms.
Furthermore, when we take into account the various class and cultural
contexts of Middle Eastern women’s piety practices and activism, we find
that for many women religious movements offer real liberation from
oppressive socio-economic realities and limiting cultural norms.