Organic food consumption is associated with “citizen-consumer” practice, which is an act of promoting different aspects of social and ecological responsibility and the integration of ethical considerations in daily practices such as eating. This article analyzes aspects of organic food consumption in Israel and the symbolic meanings given to it by its consumers. The study shows how practices attributed to ethical eating culture are used in identity construction, social status manifestation, and as a means to demonstrate openness to global cultural trends. Organic food consumption is carried out as part of a symbolic use of ethical values and its adaptation to the local Israeli cultural context. In addition, organic food consumption patterns are revealed as fitting the cultural logic of globalization, which spread in the last decades in Israel. Analysis of the socio-cultural aspects related to organic food consumption points to the polysemy embodied in the term citizen-consumer and shows how the actual implementation of this term in Israel is based on the assimilation of cosmopolitan meanings.
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.
This article presents a critical analysis of New Age culture. We draw on two empirical studies conducted in Israel and show that the lofty notions about freedom from the shackles of socially structured identities and the unifying potential this holds, as well as the claim regarding the basic equality of human beings, are utopian. Blindness toward ethno-national identity reinforces identification with a self-evident hegemonic perception, thereby leading to the exclusion of peripheral groups such as indigenous populations. This exclusion is manifested in the discourse symbolically as well as in the praxis of complementary and alternative medicine, which is one of the main fields in which New Age culture is involved. Thus, the unifying ethos in the New Age culture becomes an illusionary paradise. This article contributes to the study of power relationships between New Age culture in diverse Western countries and the native and peripheral populations of these countries, and to the sociological study of complementary and alternative medicine incorporated into health organizations.
This study comprises a comprehensive attempt to reveal the power relations and conflicting interests within the local–global nexus of the Israeli public education system. The perceptions of different stakeholders were explored, in regard to the implementation of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program as an example of a globally oriented curriculum. Vignette scenarios and mixed methods were utilized in order to survey various stakeholders including parents, school principals, Education Ministry officials, academics, and educational entrepreneurs. Findings indicate that the Israeli education system is somewhat trapped between different and opposing pressures that force transformations in conflicting directions. The Israeli case may serve as a reference point for future research, advancing the study of power relations and tensions between different values and diverse stakeholders in modern education systems, especially within societies engaged in active conflict.
In the era of globalization, educational systems are forced to react and globalize through schools’ content and context. Among other 21st century capabilities such as information technology use, team work and entrepreneurship, multilingual competence has been placed among the objectives of education systems worldwide. We analyzed the pattern of students’ choice for advanced studies in English, Arabic and French languages in Israeli schools over the last twenty years (1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010) together with mothers’ education years. Our results revealed a change in the pattern of language learning over the years, with English and French advanced studies highly correlated with mothers’ education (hence associated with a certain perceived status), while Arabic became increasingly correlated with mothers’ education over the years. In addition, we performed semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 20 parents of children studying either French or Arabic in junior high schools. All interviewed parents were selected from schools where pupils can choose between French and Arabic and parents were asked about the motivation for choosing earthier French or Arabic. We found that parents mostly see foreign languages as part of cultural and cosmopolitan capital that their children need to acquire, in order to benefit from it later in their career. While French was found to be perceived in terms of pragmatic and instrumental cosmopolitan capital, Arabic was perceived as a pragmatic but also as an ideological asset. We discuss our findings in the context of Israeli society and the conflict-ridden situation that its education system is functioning within.
Over the past decade, a new and intriguing phenomenon developed in Israel: close to 60,000 Israelis applied for citizenship in the Central and Eastern European countries from which their families immigrated. Typically, these new dual citizens have no plans to “return” to Germany or Poland, nor do they feel any identification with their countries of origin. Instead, they are mainly interested in obtaining a “European Union passport” and in gaining potential access to the European common market. The paper presents statistics on this unconventional case of dual citizenship, surveys the historical and legal circumstances that produced it and uses material from interviews to explore the meanings and uses that European-Israeli dual citizens attribute to their European passports. Dual citizenship, the findings show, is used by Israelis in various and sometimes unexpected ways: as enhancer of economic opportunities, “insurance policy,” intergenerational gift, and even as an elitist status symbol. This modality of state belonging can be termed “passport citizenship”: Non-resident citizenship here is stripped of its national meaning and treated as an individual piece of property, which is embodied by the passport and obtained for pragmatic reasons.