New Article: Shoshana, Ethnicity without Ethnicity

Shoshana, Avihu. “Ethnicity without Ethnicity: ‘I’m beyond that story’ State Arrangements, Re-Education and (New) Ethnicity in Israel.” Social Identities (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2016.1166939

 

Abstract

This article examines the connection between state ethnic classifications and the way they are perceived by individuals in everyday life. Using the case of the Boarding School for the Gifted Disadvantaged in Israel which is open to immigrants, an attempt was made to reach an understanding of how individuals who have experienced deliberate state intervention in the ethnic component of their selfhood, experience this intervention years after the (re)construction. The main findings illuminate how boarding school graduates transformed the governmental intervention into a unique ethnic identity for everyday life: ‘ethnicity without ethnicity’. This identity rejects any overt engagement with the ethnic component of the concept of self. This identity even relies on the subject’s constant reminders to himself that ‘he is beyond the ethnic story’ and that meritocratic identity (devoid of ethnic consciousness) is preferable to ascriptive identity. The findings also show that ethnic identity is not necessarily expressed in everyday practices (language, food consumption, music, festivals) but rather in ongoing cognitive engagement of the agent distanced from the available official ethnic classifications. The discussion section tracks the state-organizational sources of this ethnic identity and its relation to the unmarked ethnicity amongst the upper-middle classes.

 

 

 

New Article: Agmon et al, Mentoring on Healthy Behaviors and Well-Being among Israeli Youth in Boarding Schools

Agmon, Maayan, Cheryl Zlotnick, and Anat Finkelstein. “The Relationship between Mentoring on Healthy Behaviors and Well-Being among Israeli Youth in Boarding Schools: A Mixed-Methods Study.” BMC Pediatrics (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12887-015-0327-6

 

Abstract

Background

Although 10% of Israeli youth live in boarding schools, few studies, except for those focusing on mental health, have examined the well-being of this population subgroup. Thus, the aims of this study were to explore: (1) the prevalence rates of five aspects of well-being (i.e., healthy habits, avoidance of risky behaviors, peer relationships, adult relationships, and school environment) in youth residing at Israeli boarding schools; (2) the relationships between youth well-being and youth perception of their mentor; and (3) the different subgroups of youth with higher rates of risky and healthy behaviors.

Methods

This study used a mixed-methods approach including a quantitative survey of youth (n = 158) to examine the association between youth behaviors and perception of their mentor; and a qualitative study consisting of interviews (n = 15) with boarding school staff to better understand the context of these findings.

Results

Greater proportions of boarding school youth, who had positive perceptions of their mentor (the significant adult or parent surrogate), believed both that their teachers thought they were good students (p < 0.01), and that they themselves were good students (p < 0.01). This finding is supported by the qualitative interviews with mentors. Youth living in a boarding school had very similar healthy habits compared to other youth living in Israel; however, youth in the general population, compared to those in the boarding schools, were eating more sweets (OR = 1.39, 95% CI = 1.02-1.90) and engaging in higher levels of television use (OR = 2.64, 95% CI = 1.97-3.54).

Conclusions

Mentors, the significant adult for youth living in residential education environments, have a major influence on school performance, the major focus of their work; mentors had no impact on healthy behaviors. Overall, there were many similarities in healthy behaviors between youth at boarding schools and youth in the general population; however, the differences in healthy habits seemed related to policies governing the boarding schools as well as its structural elements.